FCC Speech (on signing the agreement) – August 17th, 2019
Ladies and gentlemen, families of the martyrs, the injured and the missing.
Ladies and gentlemen, representatives of the various groups that represent the nation of the Sudan.
Chairman and members of the Transitional Military Council.
Allow me, on your behalf and on behalf of the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) to welcome our distinguished guests:
- His Excellency, the Prime Minister of (the Republic of) Ethiopia, Dr. Abiy Ahmed
- His Excellency, the President of the Republic of South Sudan, Lt Gen Salva Kiir Mayardit
- His Excellency, the President of Chad, Idriss Déby
- His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Central African Republic, Faustin-Archange Touadéra
- President of the Republic of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta
- Prime Minister of The Arab Republic of Egypt, Mustafa Madbooli
- Prime Minister of Kuwait, His Royal Highness Prince Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah
- Chairman of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki
- Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Dr Yousef Bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen
- Secretary General of The Arab League, Ahmed Aboul-Gheit
- Undersecretary General of the UN
- Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
- Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman
- Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar
- Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bahrain
- Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates
- Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey
- Minister of Foreign Affairs of Djibouti
- Minister of Foreign Affairs of Somalia
- Minister of Foreign Affairs of Finland
- Your Excellencies Ambassadors of neighbouring countries, representatives of diplomatic and international missions to the Sudan.
Peace, mercy and blessings of God be upon you.
In opening this ceremony, allow me to pray for the souls of the female and male martyrs of our beloved Sudanese nation who have shed their blood over 30 long years of struggle and patriotic sacrifice against the bloody and corrupt former “Inghaz” regime. This day has become a reality as a consequence of this bloodshed and these sacrifices. On this great national occasion, this gathering has become possible, after we had started to believe that it would become yet another unattainable dream.
I also hope that you will allow me to extend a special greeting to the victims of the wars waged by the former “Inghaz” regime against our nation: to the martyrs, the injured, the displaced, the refugees and the victims of systemic arrests and torture. All these sacrifices that this nation has made, are the seeds of which we are now reaping the hopes, dreams and ambitions that we deserve.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On this joyous day, it is painful that some of the revolutionaries who had taken part in the protests in December and in the glorious sit-in at the Military Headquarters, are missing from amongst us today. They were the ones who strove laboriously, and with profound faith, to see through the revolution to its very end after the overthrow of the “Inghaz” (regime). At this very moment, we remember our fellow protestors who lost their lives in the massacre of the 3rd of June 2019, may God have mercy on them, and we also remember the protestors who have been missing since. We assure you that we remain committed to find the missing revolutionaries. This will continue to be a firm commitment and a duty atop the list of priorities for the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) and the transitional authority.
We thank you for your presence and for your participation in this ceremony. This marks the beginning of a new page, and the turning over of a page that had cost us three decades of war, oppression, corruption and moral, political, social and economic failure.
The December 2018 Revolution came as the crowning glory to an arduous national struggle that started on the day of the anti-democratic coup of 30th June 1989; a struggle that our people from all across the country fought against the former regime. Our people deserve to feel proud that they neither gave up, nor did they wave the white flag of submission. Rather, they continued to fight for the cause until, in December (2018), light shone through and the darkness lifted.
The Declaration of Freedom and Change came about as a response to the aspirations of our people to define a national roadmap for transition. After a thorough study of the country’s problems, we, at the FFC, identified ways to address the challenges facing the various national resistance movements in Sudan. The most prominent issue was the absence of unified leadership. Hence, came the birth of the FFC which is the broadest alliance encompassing political, trade union and civil representation. This coalition set to work coordinating the efforts of our people and developing and articulating their choices for different means of resistance through a clear political agenda led by the FFC.
The issue of war and peace has remained of utmost importance for the FFC. We have associated war and peace with democratic transformation, to emphasize our firm belief in the right to life, the right to peace and security, the rights of those who have been killed during the wars, the rights of the displaced and refugees. In this context, we affirm that the FFC believes that peace must be comprehensive across all war and conflict affected regions of the Sudan, with no exceptions. The FFC’s vision and goals remain in close alignment with the forces of armed struggle, within and beyond the FFC. We look forward to working with them all towards a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in our country.
The former regime and its president deserve to have their names written in the darkest chapters of history. Let the warrant issued by the ICC for the arrest of the former president bear witness that the defunct regime had left not a single crime that it had not committed.
All these crimes against our people make the matter of judicial accountability one of the most important duties of this government. The judicial and police institutions – which must be established independently – will be officially tasked with achieving these objectives during the transitional period; bringing justice to the victims and their families. We affirm the commitment of the FFC to conducting a transparent, just and objective national investigation into the massacre of the Military HQ sit-in (3rd June 2019). We assure you that we will work with urgency to ensure that any individual who has committed a crime against the Sudanese people since 30th June 1989, shall not escape justice.
The FFC has given utmost attention to the economic challenges of our country. Despite the numerous and substantial hurdles – such as widespread corruption, nepotism, misappropriation of public funds, administrative negligence, extravagant spending on government entities, and the transfer of the majority of the country’s income to the ruling oppressors -we believe that the will and determination of the Revolution and the renewed patriotic spirit will give rise to new ways of channeling the necessary financial resources and human capabilities needed to move us towards progress and development.
The devastation caused by the former regime has affected all aspects of life, including an adequate standard of living, food for children, clean water, healthcare and education. The former regime also, and very deliberately, destroyed the social fabric of communities by dividing, and discriminating between citizens on tribal, ethnic, regional, religious and racial grounds – a heinous process that the Sudanese people had never before experienced. The alleviation of the effects of all this requires the transitional government to work with extreme diligence towards mending and restoring the country’s social fabric to ensure that the people of Sudan shall live in peace and harmony.
The regime also, again very deliberately, degraded the women of Sudan. The regime oppressed women through repressive laws, and through the cration of courts of “law”, prosecution tribunals and police divisions whose sole purpose collectively was to humiliate women.
We aspire to placing all forms of discrimination against women behind our backs. We aspire to guard, protect and enforce the constitutional and legal rights of women. We hope to begin this new era by committing that women representatives will occupy a minimum of fourty percent of the seats in the Transitional Legislative Council.
The former regime destroyed Sudan’s international relations and forfeited its strategic interests by using its international and regional role in favour of the Islamic Movement, and not for the benefit of the people of the Sudan. Sudan’s foreign relations were formulated to serve the regime’s ideology and the ruling class. The “mass destruction” of the country’s foreign relations brought against us economic and diplomatic sanctions. We became prisoners of international mandates and sanctions that affected our national sovereignty and jeopardised our path towards development. This necessitates that the country returns to the international arena, and the restoring of its international relations becomes a mission and a priority.
At this juncture, allow me (to deliver) these messages from our Revolution. We are obliged to deliver these without much embellishment.
Message Number One (1)
To the families of the martyred, the missing and the injured:
This revolution began when the “Inghaz” coup d’état took place. The people of this nation became outcasts in their own land, while the immoral and the dregs of society advanced. When the December Revolution (2018) took place, our people were still alienated. The phoenix rose from the flames, and volcanoes of suppressed anger erupted. As the blood of our martyrs, one after the other, flowed like lava, their mothers and fathers stood firm, unshakeable like mighty mountains. They neither succumbed to grief and sadness nor to depression and were amongst the first to call on our revolution and struggle to continue.
There were magnificent sights of the parents of the martyrs, the wounded and the missing as they led the protestors and marches. The right to justice for them is an obligation that we owe them. It is our duty to honour this obligation, and to bring justice to them through all possible means; through legal means, through processions and search parties and through transparent and impartial investigations. This is their right, and their rights are a pillar of this revolution.
Message Number Two (2)
To the internally displaced and the refugees:
You are the rightful owners and creators of this day. Your sacrifices are not only the bricks that built this revolution, but the very foundation of it. We do not give this revolution to you as a gift, for gifts are offered to “others”, and you are not “others” but you are the gift itself. You gave us your lives, while you lived in camps, freezing during the harsh winter months, and suffering in the sweltering summer heat.
You gave us your dreams woven into the beautiful tapestry of our nation’s bigger dreams. What could we ever give you in return?
A spacious homeland? This is a right, not a favour.
A school and a hospital? This is a right, not a favour.
Gainful employment? This is a right, not a favour.
We will work towards peace that is comprehensive and just, and towards the prosecution of those who have committed crimes against you and us and who have taken away our right to live in a country characterised by equality and harmony; a life that brings us together in peace, freedom and justice and in a land that is an eternal resting place for all. We have nothing much to offer you, and as such, we say this to you with our heads bowed (in gratitude): Thank you very much.
Message Number Three (3):
To the women of our country, our youth, the girls and boys of this generation, to the neighbourhood committees and to the children;
You have been the best of this rich nation whose resources have been stolen, scattered and divided into the pockets of oppressive dictators. We know that the task of freeing ourselves from their clutches will be an arduous task, but it will not be any more challenging than the months and years gone by, during which we lost companions, men and women, our flesh and blood.
You shall remain the trailblazers of this revolution, because you were the very flames that ignited the protests whenever they waned, and the light that shone bright when bullets, whips, arrests and pursuits darkened our days and suffocated us. A revolution that is unguarded is like a chest of treasure abandoned by the side of a road; it will attract robbers and highwaymen. Together we are the guardians and protectors of this revolution. We shall not, as long as we are alive, trade in or rob our own treasure (the Revolution). This is a promise that we have made with, and to, each other. You have fulfilled your promise and we in turn have to swear that we shall not lose sight and throw ourselves back into the darkness, nor turn back halfway.
Message Number Four (4)
To the traditional administration authorities and all religious groups (sects); To my fathers, uncles, brothers, and families:
Sudan has so far accommodated us all with its expansive lands and its people who live by communal subsistence. By coming together Sudan shall continue to carry us all. If we do not allow room for mistakes, forgiveness, brotherhood and uncertainty, we, as a nation, will neither survive nor have a legacy to leave behind. This land that has provided for all of us, has fed us from childhood to adulthood; we can either take care of it, or neglect it and stand to lose all that we own. We all have beliefs and convictions. We may disagree on our visions, but we must all agree to live in peace. Our disagreements could lead us to lose our nation. We have a sacred duty first, and a national duty second, to ensure our harmony and coexistence, despite disagreements; this is the premise for a compassionate and harmonious existence. We were created from the same soul, so we must protect this soul in order to protect ourselves and our missions in life. It is our duty to work together to renounce hateful racism and radical tribalism, to spread tolerance and peaceful coexistence, to respect and dignify each other, our cultures, our languages, our appearances and to place our country above all else.
Message Number Five (5)
To western Sudan, Darfur, eastern Sudan, to southern Sudan – Kordofan, Blue Nile State, to northern and central Sudan, to rural Sudan and all its citizens, and to all (our) citizens who are living in poverty, sickness, insecurity and who are marginalized:
This revolution is your revolution and you must be the first to reap its benefits. We must all work to achieve and establish equal opportunities, equal access to government services and equal representation, with the positive discrimination that is due to you.
Message Number Six (6)
To the employees, vocational workers, blue collar workers, businessmen;
You have been, and continue to be, the backbone of the revolution, its pillars and the force behind it. The protests and demonstrations tested you, yet you did not allow them to break you, nor did you retreat. Your livelihoods and freedoms were suppressed and stifled, yet you remained patient. When the call to protests was made, you were amongst the first to take strike action and take part in acts of civil disobedience. When the need to finance the revolution arose, you willingly tightened your belts and contributed whatever you could afford.
This victory would not have been possible without you. The platforms from which we launched this Revolution were possible because of your frontal support; you propelled and defended this Revolution.
Message Number Seven (7)
To the Sudanese diaspora:
Across all the corners of the world, you stood tall like mountains and made this country proud with your professionalism and self-respect. This country needs you today and tomorrow just as it needed you yesterday. Your role in building a better homeland is profound and massive, through your efforts and expertise and advise. You do not need a memo or a reminder to continue to provide what you can, and more.
Message Number Eight (8)
To the armed forces and other regular forces:
You completed the journey with us and walked alongside us towards resistance and change. You did so with open hearts and sacrifice, and this was an unquestionable duty. Our journey together was not without obstacles. It exposed us to uncertainty and mistrust, but our hope for a brighter future was our key to patience. Blood and tears were shed and we made mistakes that we all paid for dearly. But we believe firmly, that patriotism is alive and well within this institution that has been our protector and our shield. No matter how difficult the road becomes, and how many obstacles we may face along the way, it is within our reach to pave the way towards building and honouring trust. That is the way through which we can transition power peacefully, turn over those dark pages of abominable dictatorship, and establish a sustainable democracy in Sudan.
Message Number Nine (9)
To the National Congress Party (NCP) and its allies:
Say it: justice has prevailed and the reign of injustice has come to an end.
You abused your power and authority. You killed, arrested, tortured and displaced the people of this country. Many of you remained silent in the face of these crimes and turned a blind eye to the injustices. During your unjust rule, our country suffered civil wars and internal conflicts. People starved and were displaced across borders, their dignity was compromised and our lives became unbearable.
During your time in power, corruption spread at an unprecedented magnitude and rate. Under your regime, the wealth of this country was scattered and distributed into the pockets of a few of you. During your era, all that our youth dreamt of was to emigrate and leave their homeland behind, and death became the wish of many.
Our country has missed out on development, on stability and on security.
We will not do what you did, and vengeance shall not be our approach. Instead, we shall pursue accountability and just punishment. For those who did not commit serious crimes or have not committed visible and personal crimes, we invite them to join the campaign to build this nation.
Perhaps the people of this nation may forgive the once mighty. Perhaps the generous people of this country will choose to forget the effects of the harm done to them.
Ultimately, you too are from this country, and your right to citizenship has not been withdrawn. Nonetheless, you must choose how you wish to make amends for what you have done, for silence in the face of injustice is complicity.
Message Number Ten (10) To the people of South Sudan:
We greet you with longing and love.
Our happiness is not complete without you, for you are us, and we are you. We are not complete without you, and whatever has harmed you has also harmed us. We shall work together to get back to what we both desire. Our separation was harsh, but our reconciliation is possible, for you are our better half. When we mention “Sudan”, we imagine that familiar map with its extensive diversity and pluralism. Let us bond and work together towards our common progress, development and growth.
Message Number Eleven (11)
To all African nations:
This land belongs to us all. It is a land which we share with you geographically, and through its history, culture, tribes and peoples. What distinguishes our country, in its position at the heart of the Africa, is that all its borders are open. These borders are not ordinary borders but open fields of affection, love, inter-marriages, and of living as one. Our people who have been displaced across the Continent as a result of wars and conflict did not feel they were guests in your countries; they felt they were rather merely visitors to a different room within the same home. Our hope is that the unity of the Continent, economically and socially, will be a priority for the officials of the African Union, and an endeavour that we will make every effort to achieve, together and forever.
Message Number Twelve (12)
To all nations of the world:
We apologise for a forced absence of 30 years of the Sudanese state from authentically and directly contributing to the advancement of the nations of the world and from propelling them towards prosperity, from contributing to the attainment of rights and from contributing to the happiness of humankind.
We ask you to treat the people of Sudan with respect, for this is a deserving nation that has made profound sacrifices to catch-up with the waves of civilization, development and progress. The people of Sudan have presented a lesson after lesson on peaceful resistance, non-violent protest and joint struggle for their rights. We deserve that you get to know us anew, for we are worthy of it.
Message Number Thirteen (13)
To our Arab and regional neighbours:
We have brought about a bright and brilliant revolution. We have a legacy and track record that we take pride in. Since the 1960s, our revolutions have set the example for other nations. Those around us have benefited from what we have created and achieved over the decades. However, we stand here today, willingly acknowledging that we too, have learnt and benefited from the revolutions and sacrifices in our neighbouring countries. We have found support from friendly nations and we have received letters of encouragement which have been blessings. Despite ploys and political dialogues, we are overcoming the intrigues. Our people will not forget those who have stood with them and supported them, but they will also remember all those who have placed obstacles along the way. “But whoever pardons and makes reconciliation, his rewards is (due) from Allah”.
Our brothers and sisters, we want our relationship to continue, and for our common interests to be the at the core of our relationships. We, the people of the Sudan, experienced humiliation and degradation because the defunct regime, Al-Bashir’s regime, had given away our dignity as an offering for its own survival and as a guarantee for the continuation of its rule. We no longer need to make “offerings”. What we need, from all those who have our best interest at heart, is support that is devoid of hidden motives and agendas. We are in a state of recovery from a prolonged illness and our cure shall be in reclaiming our legitimate position as an independent country and a nation of honourable wise people. Uplifting our national morale shall be in reclaiming our status amongst the nations of the world and acknowledging that we deserve to reclaim our dignity in its entirety and our sovereignty with no compromise.
Message Number Fourteen (14)
To all armed struggle movements:
Our comrades in armed movements, our request to you is to lay down arms, and join us in rebuilding the country. Our revolution has been peaceful. We know very well that the revolution of the Sudanese people did not begin today, and that you have contributed to it with blood and tears, and that your necessity to carry weapons was on many occasions, to defend the right to life, to equitable citizens and for balanced development. You also served as an authentic faction of the revolution, carrying yourselves with pride during the protests, choosing with us the accomplishment of our goals through non-violence. We now must engage in serious and productive dialogue to resolve our country’s most serious issues in a radical and final manner.
Peace should be a priority for any reasonable individual. War must be a choice in emergencies only. The Revolution has shown us that there are safer means to resolve issues, and that can have much more profound results. We stand together to work as one towards a comprehensive peace for the sake of the nation and for those who have suffered the scourge of war, for our people in the Nuba Mountains, in Darfur and in Blue Nile State, for justice and for equality. A peace that is brought about by an open mind and pure intentions, not that of evil minds and those with malicious intent.
Message Number Fifteen (15)
To ourselves, The Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) as an aide-memoire:
We started this journey together. While the implementation of many commitments we made at the end of last year (2018) have been delayed, we have started this journey and we will complete it together. Our paths are aligned. If we face difficulties, then we accept these as part of our fate and get prepared to address them. If we achieve success, then that shall be for the good of the nation as a whole. If, however, we give up and do not face the challenges that will emerge or do not correct our mistakes along the way, then we will fail. Let us reinforce our solidarity and bridge our gaps. Let us stand together in the sanctuary of our country for which the time has come to recuperate.