The Implications of Al Bashir’s Downfall on South Sudan

The Sudanese revolutionary forces that brought an end to a 30-year rule of President Omar Al Bashir find a lot of sympathy and support among the ordinary South Sudanese citizens, who, at one point before their own independence, suffered Al Bashir’s misrule. They have been on the receiving end of the brutal and genocidal policies of President Al Bashir, informed largely by his extremist Islamic inclinations. Like their Sudanese counterparts, South Sudanese have been celebrating the departure of Al Bashir, with hopes of a possibility of a renewed bond defined by improved social, political, cultural, and economic relations with South Sudan raised in the Sudan. While Bashir’s ouster excites people, they are also uncertain of what follows next given the fact that several regimes have been changed in the Sudan since 1956 but no concrete positive change has come to the periphery of the Sudan. So, people want to know whether things would change for the better or it would be business as usual. One inescapable question in the minds of many South Sudanese is what the change of guard
in the Sudan represents in terms of its relationship with South Sudan. Another question pertains to the impact Al Bashir’s departure has on the Peace Agreement he helped the South Sudanese belligerents signed in September last year. This paper seeks to answer these questions in order to provide a concise view on the political dynamics in Sudan as seen from across the southern border. The hope is that this analysis could help us better understand the mixed feelings euphoria, worry and fear generated by the on-going developments in Sudan. It is apparent that citizens in both countries are concerned by the situation given that the events remain fluid and precarious, as the actors remain divided on the way forward. One particularly important matter of concern is the possibility of Al-Bashir’s allies infiltrating the transitional government. This review starts with highlights into key developments leading to the fall of President Bashir, followed by a look into subsequent events. The second section looks at potential challenges and opportunities in this crisis as regards the relationship between Sudan and South Sudan. The review concludes with a number of recommendations.