After the fall of Sudanese long-time despot, Omar Bashir, over a year ago, Sudan added another feather to its cap. It became the first country on earth to have three presidents in one week. On Wednesday 10th April 2019, Sudan's president was Bashir before Ahmed Awad ibn Auf stepped in on Thursday 11th after the army booted down Bashir. On 12th April, ibn Auf was removed from power after demonstrators accused him of being a Bashir stooge. Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan was sworn in to take over from ibn Auf as the third president within one week. The Sudanese entered the books of history as the first people to overthrow two military despots in 24 hours.
North Sudan recently entered a peace agreement with rebels. What is unique is the fact that this peace agreement was brokered by South Sudan, which was part of the former Sudan before seceding after a long war. Indeed, this shows the true colours of politicians. Those who were baying for each other’s blood yesterday, may be in bed snuggling tomorrow and vice versa. If what pushed the putsch in Khartoum to negotiate with rebels and accept to be reconciled by its former nemesis could lead them to reunify North Sudan and South Sudan, Sudanese in both countries would forgive their sins and treasure their legacy. The division of Sudan was a fatal and stupid mistake that both sides will always regret as the days go by.
Sudan is renowned for being an African country that regards itself as an Arab one. Its black people still believe they’re Arabs but not Africans though Arabs always have never accepted them as Arabs. Instead, they remind them who they actually are. If anything, it is this fake Arabism that led to two feeble and self-destructive countries. To know if an animal is a goat or a sheep or a mongrel, just take it to those you think are the animals of its species. If the animal in point is truly a goat, goats will accept it. If it is not, goats will refuse to accept it as one of theirs. This shows Sudan's exceptionality when it comes to self-perception and self-identification. Actually, Sudan is always running away from its shadow.
Sudan has many pyramids not to mention the biggest animal migration on earth (AFP, March 22nd, 2012) that takes place in the Boma National park South Sudan and humungous wealth that has never helped either or both of the two. These resources have not been attractive to the west since the duo have never been in their good books and have been experiencing violent conflicts.
The signed agreement between the government in Khartoum and the rebels is exceptionally worrying because of the fact that some top people in the upper echelons of power in Khartoum stand accused of committing genocide in Darfur. One of them is the most influential military man in office, Lieutenant General Mohamed Hamdan Daqlo aka Hemerti. He alleged to be behind the formation of the Janjaweed terrorist group (BBC, June 5th2019) that Bashir’s regime used to commit genocide in Darfur. That’s why some groups refused to append their signatures to the recent agreement. Rebel groups such as the SLM faction led by Abdel Wahid Nour and a wing of the SPLM-N headed by Abdelaziz al-Hilu still view Khartoum as the chief suspect of genocide Darfur has suffered up until now for almost two decades. There’s no way any agreement that doesn’t address the root cause of the conflict in Darfur and other areas such as Nuba Mountain, Kordofan and others can stand. Those behind heinous crimes in Darfur need to be brought to book. The suspects that are in power need to be expelled so that justice can be done for the people of Darfur and Sudan in general.
What happened in Darfur is a shame not only for North Sudan but also for Africa and the Muslim world. Despite almost all Darfur being Africans and Muslims, their brethren Africans and Muslims who view themselves as Arabs from Sudan perpetrated genocide against them led by Bashir, ibn Auf and current head of the junta Abdel Fattah al-Burhan. Africans, as well, seem to have not been bothered with such a crime committed to their own. Thus, some rebel groups signed the agreement without necessarily advocating for the right of Darfur despite the fact that they purport to fight for the right of Darfur. These include the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), both of the western region of Darfur. Ironically, Sudanese are the most generous people for any foreigner, especially if he or she is Arab, Caucasian or Indian. This is my experience of almost all Africans who are ready to neglect their own and make foreigners comfortable even at their expense.
Underscoring the magnitude of the crime that Sudan committed on Darfur, true Darfur rebels won’t want to sign an agreement with people with blood-spattered hands. Some rebels such as Minni Arkou Minnawi–––a Zaghawa whose people have never been touched by genocidaires; and who are believed to have come from Chad–––easily signed the agreement simply because they’re not Darfur. True Darfur will never go to bed with their murderers. As well, peace agreements have been used by some rebels to get money or meet warlords’ personal ends. To get away with murder North Sudan tribalized the conflict in order to get some pawns it uses to legitimize itself and show the international community that it is serious about resolving the conflict.
Sudan has become the first Arab-speaking and self-perceiving country to execute an African spring successfully. Burkina Faso was the first African country to launch its African Spring that saw its long-time despot Blaise Compaore pulled down before the Gambia replicated the same by showing Jammeh the door. This means, other sister countries under dictators need to take a leaf from former Sudan.
In sum, those who wrongly think that Africa is bankrupt when it comes to pulling surprises to the world should think twice. Major lessons to learn here are: Firstly, we need to accept ourselves as who we truly are. Secondly, the world needs to know that North and South Sudan are not occupied by monsters. There are humans who can, unexpectedly though, do good things at bad times. However, what the junta in Khartoum is doing is a good thing though done in a bad way by the suspects of genocide in Darfur. Thirdly, the putsch in Khartoum needs to understand that no hanky-panky can sustain it in power. The right thing for it to do is allow civilians form the government as it goes to the barracks. Fourthly, Africa still has a long way to go vis-à-vis its true identity, its centrality and how its wealth can peacefully and practically benefit Africans. The two Sudan have provided a very good example on how Africa needs to decolonise itself.
By Nkwazi Mhango
Mhango is a lifetime member of the Writers' Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador (WANL) and author of over 20 books among which are Africa Reunite or Perish, 'Is It Global War on Terrorism' or Global War over Terra Africana? How Africa Developed Europe and contributed many chapters in scholarly works.