This briefing unpacks the connected political and economic crisis that reached a climax in early 2019 through the contrasting but connected worlds of Sudan’s bread and sorghum eaters. Its conclusion presents the limited options available to the as yet unelected technocratic government.


On 11 April 2019, leaders of the military, security and militia formations he relied upon to maintain his rule overthrew him in a palace coup after months of mass protests and civil unrest across the country. Witness to his abasement were thousands of people who amassed around the army headquarters in Khartoum to demand his ouster. Sudan’s season of revolt had claimed its highest prize.


The RVI Sudan and South Sudan Course will explore these ongoing political and economic transitions in both Sudans. Topics of special interest include international reintegration, changing military-security landscapes, rebuilding social security networks, young people’s political resistance, shifting migrant pathways and returning refugees, and the prospects for peace and justice.


Since hostilities began in South Sudan in 2013, over 3.5 million people have fled their homes, of which 1.8 million have sought refuge from violence and food insecurity in neighbouring countries. A National Dialogue, launched in May 2017, has seemingly not yet managed to reduce the intensity of the violence, while the country’s economic situation worsens. On 6 July 2017, the Rift Valley Forum…


South Sudan recently celebrated a new peace deal, hoping to bring an end to a conflict that has killed hundreds of thousands of people since 2013. However, with a number of peace deals being signed in the past, with limited success, some remain sceptical of the ability of the new agreement to hold.


Based on research in the area in December 2018, the event will help understanding of how local authorities manage militarised labour and food markets, and how local people navigate and conceptualise their precarious livelihoods within this political economy. It will reflect on the implications of borderland conflict economies for South Sudan’s post-agreement reconstruction.


On 14 May 2019, the Rift Valley Forum hosted a panel discussion to launch The Struggle for South Sudan: Challenges of Security and State Formation. The book discusses solutions to the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in South Sudan, bringing together essays from international and South Sudanese political scientists, economists and practitioners. The Forum reflected on key…


A new term starts at St Augustine’s School in Isoke. So far the teaching staff comprises only the Head Teacher and myself. Pupils trickle in—about 25 have registered by the end of the first week—but many from around Isoke do not bother. At the school there is a general feeling that nothing much is going to happen, with pupils doing little but cleaning the classroom, sweeping or cutting the…


During war, geographies of economic and political power are often recast by shifting patterns of trade and population movements. This can present an opportunity for local leaders to reshape legal and moral logics to attract trade and people to areas under their control. But these shifts can also create ambiguities and tensions that extend into times of peace.


Changing Power Among Murle Chiefs investigates how Murle customary authorities—in particular, red chiefs—navigate and negotiate political, military and spiritual authority, while simultaneously challenging the view that Murle society has no organic leaderships structures. The challenge is not the absence of leadership structures but rather their abundance and the difficulties they…