‘The power of people's choice'

The Africa Report - - FEATURES - DALIA EL ROUBI Rights ac­tivists and mem­ber of the op­po­si­tion Su­dan Congress Party In­ter­view by PA­TRICK SMITH in Khar­toum

TAR: Is there fair rep­re­sen­ta­tion for women in the lead­er­ship of the protest move­ment?

The fe­male lead­er­ship in the move­ments and ac­tual streets should be doc­u­mented. On the or­gan­i­sa­tion level – the lo­gis­tics, the oper­a­tions – there's a lot of women in­volved. But we don't just come as women par­tic­i­pat­ing, we come as women lead­ing as well. [The idea from some men that ‘We'll deal with the women's is­sue later' sur­prised a lot of us. We are try­ing to find a way to work and make sure that the Dec­la­ra­tion for Free­dom and Change Forces (DFCF) still rep­re­sents the revo­lu­tion but un­der­stands that it has to be ac­count­able for us as women and as people in the revo­lu­tion, in the streets.

Can mil­i­tary vi­o­lence de­rail the revo­lu­tion?

We've dealt with their vi­o­lence for a very long time. These people, they were vi­o­lent to us, they were ag­gres­sive and not just in protests. They have been ruth­less in the war, they've killed mil­lions of people across the coun­try from different forms of op­pres­sion and vi­o­lence.

So we had a month's break. The chaos that people are afraid of has al­ready hap­pened and may con­tinue to hap­pen. So it can't be the rea­son for us to com­pro­mise.

Is the civil­ian lead­er­ship ac­count­able?

It's re­ally hot out there. It's very dif­fi­cult to stay there, but it's also teach­ing us the power of these sit-ins, the power of people's choice. I think it puts pres­sure on the DFCF, on the Tran­si­tional Mil­i­tary Coun­cil, on any­one who wants to pro­vide al­ter­na­tives for the way for­ward that they have to be ac­count­able to people in the street.

So what­ever hap­pens in the tran­si­tion, it will have to re­main ac­count­able to the people in the sit-in, to these com­mu­ni­ties that will sur­vive all of this.

So you wake up one day in your neigh­bour­hood and the power is cut, you know how to ask for it, you know how to or­gan­ise your­self. You go to the lo­cal level. If it doesn't work, you know what min­is­ter to go to. These are things that are be­ing learned through­out, not just the past four weeks, but months and years.

Do you have faith in the revo­lu­tion’s success?

If I'm frus­trated, I just say 'the for­mer pres­i­dent of Su­dan Omar al-bashir'. It makes me smile for the whole day!

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