Peaceful demonstrations broke-out all over Sudan on 19th December 2018. Many Sudanese cities and sometimes villages took part in this public protest movement against the government of field marshal Omar Al-Bashir.
The failure of the economic and security policies of this ailing regime are the prime reasons that have driven the Sudanese masses to the streets.
This military dictator ascended onto power in a military coup d’état on 30 June 1989 and has been supported by radical elements of the Islamic National Front led by late Dr. Hassan Al-Turabi. Since then General Al-Albashir has been ruling the country with an iron fist committing all kinds of atrocities and crimes against his people.
Currently his political party is in the process of amending Sudan’s Constitution to ensure that he remains in power for an indefinite period, which is a harbinger of many more years of destruction to come. The legacy of this tyrant ruler shall remain on the hearts of the Sudanese people as a legion of war and war crimes, racism and discrimination, corruption, hunger and incredible economic hardships.
He is notorious for destroying national unity in Sudan and dividing the country into two states. Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) and other government allied militia groups known as the Popular Defence Forces are violently confronting the peaceful demonstrators with excessive force, killing and injuring dozens and arresting and detaining hundreds of them.
By way of reminder, during similar demonstrations in September 2013, the NISS killed more than 200 protesters and injured many more. The ongoing violent crackdown on political dissent and opposition indicates that this regime will not go it way easily.
The struggle of the Sudanese people to topple this deadly regime needs therefore to be supported by regional and international pressure from all the free and peace-loving governments and nations, including the government of Namibia and Namibians in general.
Well measured pressure to bear should be brought on those individuals in position of power that have committed genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes against the Sudanese people. Special efforts should be made by all states to apprehend those who have been facing arrest warrants by the International Criminal Court.
Field marshal Al-Bashir’s mismanagement of Sudan affairs is better manifested in the poor living conditions in which languish millions of people.
In fact, the economic situation and living conditions in Sudan have been deteriorating rapidly and reached intolerable proportions with scarcity in all basic goods, especially food items and fuel.
The price hikes of all goods, the decrease in the purchasing power and the lack of liquidity in banks as well as the devaluation of the Sudanese currency against the US Dollar have rendered access to daily basics a luxury unaffordable to many Sudanese.
Lack of bread and fuel is reported all over Sudan, particularly in the countryside, where millions of Sudanese are literally and invisibly staving. This terrible reality is coupled with the spread of corruption among members of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP).
Almost seventy percent of Sudan’s national budget is conserved for security services, including funding of militias and the regular security forces. Taking all these malpractices into account, then no solution of Sudan’s ills seems to be in sight under the rule of Al-Bashir.
In reality, the regime is reviving it is heavy dependency on the notorious Janjaweed criminal gangs and the NISS as tools of oppression. Arbitrary arrests, torture, mass rape, especially in regions that witness internal armed resistance such as Darfur, the Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile State, where the commission of war crimes such as the use of internationally banned chemical weapons and extrajudicial killings of civilians are frequently reported. Al-Bashir’s regime enjoys the notorious distinction of espousing a policy of divide-and-rule in a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural country. He translated his policy in a state-sponsored action by introducing an Islamic and Arab-centric regime and by provoking tribal strife and favouritism in the interest of an elite ruling party and citizens class.
Within this context, he committed atrocities against followers of Christianity and African traditional religions in Southern Sudan under the banner of Islamic Jihad. In the predominately Muslim Darfur and the Blue Nile states, the racist connotation and background of Al-Bashir’s wars against the indigenous African owners of the country are very obvious.
About 300,000 African villagers were killed in Darfur and the entire areas were burned down and their inhabitants were chased away, while Arabs from neighbouring Chad and Niger were resettled in these villages. About 3 million Darfurian African indigenous people that survived the ethnic cleansing currently live in miserable conditions as internally displaced persons, while half-million others were forced to leave the country into exile as refugees. After the Naivasha Agreement in 2005, under which South Sudan gained independence through a referendum held in 2011, so many issues remain unresolved.
This is mainly due to non-compliance with the provisions of the agreement and Al-Bashir’s unwillingness to fulfil of its obligations. One of the direct outcomes of Al-Bashir’s dishonour of some of the provisions it that armed disputes erupted in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile state. During the ongoing fighting the government used prohibited weapons and reportedly launched indiscriminate air strikes by Antonov aircraft. In the process they destroyed schools, places of worship and hospitals.
Food has been widely used as weapon of war and Al-Bashir continues to deny international humanitarian agencies unhindered access to millions of civilians who are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance and basic daily needs.
The ruling National Congress Party seems to be determined to tighten its grip on power and to play all cards at its disposal to prolong its life. Sudan is now fully cooperating with its long-time enemy i.e. the USA, including on matters of international terrorism.
With the European Union, which is obsessed with the problems of undocumented immigration from Africa, Sudan has distinguished itself as a servant and saviour. Al-Bashir willingly chose to guard the regional borders and prevent would be immigrants from East Africa to cross its territory in their say to North Africa before crossing the Mediterranean into South Europe.
* Desiderius Amutenya is a former Namibian police officer.
New Era Reporter
2019-02-08 12:06:24 9 days ago