Peace at last: Sudan peace deal a vindication for Africa

Monday, August 19th, 2019 00:00 |
Sudanese celebrate outside the Friendship Hall in Khartoum where generals and protest leaders signed the agreement on Saturday. AFP

Eight months of bloodshed and morbidity formally came to an end at the weekend amid scenes not seen in the Sudan for decades. Television images captured Khartoum exploding into raputurous joy and merrymaking as the documents outlining how Sudan will be governed in the next three years under an 11-man transition arrangement comprising military and civilian team were signed.    

The signing ceremony watched by several Heads of State, including President Uhuru Kenyatta, marked victory for Africa and showed that the history of this continent need not be written in blood. 

After months of  depleting confidence in, and exhaustion with Omar Bashir’s military dictatorship, Sudanese masses rose to challenge the regime; the trigger points being poverty and high food prices. Typical of dictators perching high on self-entitled pedestal, Bashir would not read the signs and instead proceeded to unleash terror on protesters. But the winds of change had gained irreversible tide. 

Today, 30 years after he seized power, Bashir cuts a sorry figure in prison, the millions of dollars stolen from State coffers unlikely to provide any comfort. It’s the inglorious fate of his ilk. 

The military council that stepped in momentarily thought they could douse the spirit of rebellion and demobilise protestors but all in vain as relentless determination soared.         

So as Africa celebrates this landmark deal that will ultimately see power handed back to civilian authorities, it is to be hoped that our leaders would resolve to create environments that allow democratic institutions, accountability and probity to thrive. Leaders must steer the continent away from upheavals that entrench misery.

Nobody should feel they are irreplaceable. Those who think so progressively embrace exclusion, intolerance and become averse to accountability. Inevitably, they expose themselves to peril. Leaders must renew commitment to values that enhance the dignity of the people of Africa.     

They should embrace the tenets of  African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) where Africa does not need external self-righteous indignations and pontification on leadership values. 

President Uhuru has chaired the African Union’s APRM committee. It’s the way to go. We hope the people of Sudan have learned their lesson. But they must first fix the economy, come to peace with Juba and interrogate the influence of Bashir’s Gulf sponsors.   

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