SUDAN’S GOVERNANCE CHALLENGES
It is Puzzling Why al- Bashir Still Clings to Power, Despite Months of Protests
Following the footsteps of many other African leaders, Sudan’s longtime President Omar al Bashir does not want to leave power just like that. It seems that his removal from the top seat can only be done forcibly, notably through a military coup or mighty foreign intervention.
Despite the fact that his troubled regime continues to face challenging economic and political challenges, with persistent anti-regime demonstrations, which have been ongoing for over three months, al-Bashir seems determined to stay in power. Those seeking or asking for his resignation of the 75-year-old Sudan leaders remain puzzled.
The question most people are asking is why the long-serving Sudanese leader is tightly holding onto power. Critics firmly believe that it is power-greed since Bashir has been Sudan’s ruler for more than three decades, within which he has survived various challenges including the separation of South Sudan which is now Africa and the world’s newest nation.
President al-Bashir still faces an indictment by the International Criminal Court (ICC) based at the Hague in the Netherlands, for genocide and other war crimes in Darfur. There are also continued strict and crippling economic sanctions by the United States of America (USA) and some of its close allies, based on accusations of support for terrorism.
Currently, around two million people in Sudan are reported to be internally displaced, while the troubled northern Horn of Africa nation continues to face challenges of widespread corruption, ballooning inflation rates, long-running economic crisis due to the secession of South Sudan hence the loss of the oil reserves and continued mismanagement of funds and resources by the government.
Recent violent protests have brought about speculation and notions of bringing to an end al-Bashir’s dictatorial era. Demonstrators if various parts of Sudan, including the capital city Khartoum, have repeatedly vowed not to rest unless their current head-of-state recuses himself, and steps down from the presidency. According to some analysts, the momentum is picking-up, following the recent happening in similarly Islamic and Arab north African nation of Algeria, that led to the stepping down of their long-serving and ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
In addition to the recent protests in which the demonstrators went up to the President’s residence, sections of the military forces are now considered, through their actions, to be in support of the demands for change of leadership, thus bringing about the question of whether al-Bashir still has the support from his army. In recent times there have been indications of a potential split between the military and the National Intelligence and Security Services, which, if not properly handled, may lead to a dangerous confrontation.
President Bashir’s non-cooperation with the public demands may be due to the fact that he has yet to find his own suitable replacement, who would protect him from the indictment by the ICC. Possibly, he wishes never to face the charges of genocide and other war crimes that await him for the activities of his regime in the Darfur region.
On matters of geopolitical influence, powerful and influential global, regional and national entities such as the United Nations (U.N.), the TROIKA, the European Union (EU), and the U.S., all have had very little influence or impact on what is now happening on the ground in Sudan. Despite them issuing various statements concerning the current situation there is very little that can be done to help solve the problem.
Much focus is now placed upon the African Union (AU) to step in and help restore order and stability in the troubled country and the entire region. Analysts say that the AU should stop being on the sidelines and take stern action to save the situation in Sudan.
Various international and regional bodies focused on peace and development would need to stop their silence and join hands to save the worsening Sudan problem. So far, there has been relatively little said concerning the demonstrations by either nation on the African continent or the international community, regarding the Sudan protests. Action should be taken to facilitate long-term stability, national dialogue and a peaceful transition.