Roots In Murder and Distrustful Partnerships for Democracy

Written by William Lucht

October 3, 2022

Mohamad Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemeti by the Sudanese, has recently attempted to align himself with the pro-democratic movement which still seeks peaceful democratization in the wake of decades of tragedy.

One may recall the rule of Omar Al-Bashir who took power in a military coup in 1989 and ruled Sudan for the next 30 years. A regime hated by many, the country revolted and attempted to oust Bashir. During the uprisings Bashir found no quarter from within the military ranks which aided in his rise. The military turned its back and the regime of Al-Bashir toppled. Though, democracy alluded the Sudanese people yet again as the army took over in the absence of the former autocrat.

The Transitional Military Council (TMC) served as a committee of ruling military elites. Protests which once moved to remove Al-Bashir turned their gaze, eventually erupting into what was known as the Khartoum Massacre where many men and women were sexually assaulted, raped, and dead bodies were thrown into the Nile. With protestors pressuring the TMC, and violence mounting, the TMC and eventually the military leaders accepted to share leadership with the group which basically represented the protestors, the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC).

TMC and FFC agreed to a 39-month transition period in which the government would there after hold democratic elections. Both sides had seats on a joint committee called the Sovereign Council. General. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan lead the military coup as well as the military leadership, and Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok represented the civilian aspect of the cabinet. Though during this transition period General. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan seized power.

Enter stage left, Mohamad Hamdan Dagalo who backed the coup a year prior. A paramilitary leader who finds himself continuously avoiding the hangman’s noose, now is attempting to pawn himself off as a useful character to the pro-democracy groups across Sudan. “In recent weeks, Dagalo has declared the October 25, 2021 coup a failure due to the ongoing protests and a spiraling economy, and touted his efforts to reduce violence in Sudan’s neglected peripheral regions. But as the leader of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a group widely blamed for killing more than 120 protesters in the capital of Khartoum in June 2019, many in the pro-democracy movement do not trust Hemeti.” It is more likely that Dagalo  is seeking to align himself with a faction he sees as having the highest probability of offering him a gift. In this case, a role in governing peripheral regions in return for paramilitary support and protection offered to protestors. Regions Dagalo could run as mini fiefdoms with little oversight.   

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