After Sudanese long-time despot, Omar Bashir was overthrown, his army decided to take over. One cannot accuse Bashir of anything he committed while in power without touching the army that kept him in power for 30 years. The Sudanese army has not only betrayed Bashir, but it has also betrayed his arch nemesis, the opposition. In Sudanese language, this is called dhubab dhakar, one who eats both ways.
One can argue that when the army ousted Bashir under the pretext of supporting the revolution, they had another hidden agenda, to take power and replicate what transpired in the neighbouring Egypt which now is trying to destabilise Sudan for its own interests.
The army take over and suppressing of the revolution prove beyond doubt that Africa has never been free from external colonial powers and internal colonial institutions such as armies. The Sudanese former Janjaweed, now Rapid Support Force (RSF) has its boss, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo aka Hemedt calling the shots (Al Jazeera, May 9th, 2019). Interestingly, the army that is now ruthlessly killing Sudanese for demanding and enjoying their democratic rights, is financed by the taxes of those it is killing and brutalising.
Apart from the RSF, the junta in Sudan recently dispatched its leaders to tour three Middle Eastern capitals namely, Cairo, Dubai and Jeddah to receive aid and instructions on how to ruthlessly deal with the revolution. Before the heads of the junta visited the above countries, they were cooperating and negotiating with the revolution leaders. Soon after being influenced, they came home and started butchering their own citizens for their future peril. When I saw the photo ops between Hemedt and the Saudi crown Prince Mohamed bin Suleman (MbS), I automatically smelled a rat.
For good tacticians and democrats, apart from Donald Trump, nobody would like to get closer to MbS thanks to Khashoggi’s massacre. The Guardian (June 3, 2019) notes that Saudi Arabia and the UAE are acting in concert to thwart the aspirations of Sudan’s reform movement. Remember, the duo lease land from greedy and myopic African countries to produce food for their citizens while Africans in many countries face food shortage.
When I saw the head of the junta Abdul-Fattah Burhan hugging and kissing with his namesake Abdul-Fattah al Sisi, I knew how the chalice became poisoned. Who'd like to associate himself with a stinking despot? As I am writing, over 100 innocent Sudanese have already been butchered by the army that seeks to rule Sudan. How will it rule Sudan with such blood in its hands not to mention the same being responsible for over two decades of perpetrating genocide in Darfur wherein the same RSF aka Janjaweed is accused?
It goes without saying that all African armies deem themselves to be kingmakers, aloft and untouchable simply because they're entrusted with the weapons. The army that doesn’t know the hand that feeds it, public coffers, is nothing but a colonial tool or institution.
Many Sudanese regard themselves as Arabs. Refer their membership to the Arab League and whatnots, though lesser than actual Arabs who refer to blacks as abid, or slaves. The New Stateman America (February 21, 2018) notes that “racist terms were routinely used by Sudanese Arabs against those African groups they enslaved. This racism was manifested by Arabs’ derogatory use of the term “abid” (slaves)–and what the Northern Sudanese writer Mansur Khalid called “a series of [other] unprintable slurs–to apply to western and southern peoples.” The abid is calling another abid the way one is called the same way the victims of holocaust are replicating the same in Palestine.
The Sudanese army is now being cheaply misused by Arab countries. When the African Union (AU) banished Sudan, neither the junta nor their masters in the Middle East took it seriously due to the fact that the AU also is still colonised for failing to practically unify Africa. The junta and their masters know how moribund the AU is. Another layer of Africa’s coloniality. Ironically, the same AU banned coup d’états despite the fact that it is still made up of coup makers and dictators.
Sudan’s neighbours are not able to suffocate the junta to relinquish powers because either those neighbours are coward, weak or doing the same to their citizenry. Ethiopia tried to mediate. Out of kilter, to prove that the junta do not respect it, after PM Abiy Ahmed boarded his plane, the opposition leaders, he had talks with, were brutally arrested and put behind bars. Actions speak louder than words.
The Sudanese army is trying to call shots knowing that its successes will be temporal; and the results will be for all to face justice one day. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have already promised a $3billion aid to Sudan. Does Sudan need money now or democracy first so as to have the government in place that can manage its humungous resources or money? The duo is using cash as a bait for the junta and catalyst for the opposition in order to scuttle the process and poison everything due knowing how African countries have made unnecessary dependence their policies and a noose for those who want to hang them.
Had the Sudanese junta been decolonised, it would have acted like the armies in Burkina Faso, Gambia and Tunisia that put the interest of their countries first as opposed to the narrow and awkward interests of individual carbuncular heads. It is time for Africa to stand up and unite to avoid such as loss-making encounters as the one we are now seeing in Sudan among others.
By Nkwazi Mhango
Mhango is the author of over 20 books among which are Africa Reunite or Perish, 'Is It Global War on Terrorism' or Global War over Terra Africana?