Special for Africa ExPress
Cornelia I. Toelgyes
3 July 2020
A young man died last tuesday in Sudan, others were injured during demonstrations that took place simultaneously in many cities of the former Anglo-Egyptian protectorate. Tens of thousands of Sudanese have again called for reform and justice.
The big peaceful protest, called The one million man march, organized by the Sudanese Professional Association involved not only the capital, where police used tear gas to disperse the crowd on the road from Khartoum to the international airport.
Protesters challenged the lockdown and crowded the centres of many cities in the country, from Kassala in the east to the recalcitrant regions of Darfur, singing: freedom, peace and justice, the slogan of the anti-Bashir movement.
The former despot, Omar al Bashir was ousted on 11 April 2019 by the Sudanese army. He is currently serving a 2-year sentence for corruption in a state reformatory. The former former leader will face many more trials, and all the atrocities committed during his long “reign” gradually come to light.
Al Bashir came to power in 1989 when, as a colonel in the Sudanese army, he led a group of officers in a bloodless military coup that removed the government of Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi. So far, he has not yet been handed over to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which had already issued a warrant for his arrest in 2009 for genocide and war crimes committed in Darfur.
The people are now demanding justice for all the victims killed during their dictatorship and want those responsible for the violence and oppression to stand trial. The demonstrators also called on Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok to speed up the formation of a transitional parliament, to implement the promised reforms as soon as possible and to appoint civil governors in every state. And finally, the organizers of the maxi-protest specified that the transitional government would entrust too many tasks to the military, who, according to the agreements, should only deal with security and not with economic and other issues.
Sudan is currently going through a deep economic crisis, the devaluation of the Sudanese pound and an inflation rate of up to 100% per year have brought the country to its knees. During an international virtual conference held in Berlin about ten days ago, the government in Khartoum obtained promises of funding of $1.8 billion from international partners such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, Team Europe (EU and its member states) and others. The sum is to be allocated to social protection, development, the fight against Covid-19 and humanitarian aid. Of course, a breath of fresh air, even though the Prime Minister had asked for and hoped for more substantial aid.
Cornelia I. Toelgyes