Pact should herald new dawn in troubled Sudan

President Uhuru Kenyatta is received by Sudan Special Envoy Kalonzo Musyoka and Sudanese leaders at Khartoum International Airport for the signing of a deal on a transitional government, on Saturday. [Dennis Kavisu]

When Sudan’s government increased the price of bread and fuel early this year, the backlash this generated resulted in the overthrowal of President Omar Al-Bashir. For a conceited individual who had been in power since 1989, Bashir never saw it coming.

Yet the inevitability of his overthrowal had been there all along. Bashir’s rule was characterised by military atrocities committed against civilians in the Darfur region where UN estimates 300,000 people were killed. Indeed, the International Court of Justice issued an arrest warrant against Bashir for those crimes. Under Bashir, Sudan was treated as a pariah state.

After months of anti-government protests, Bashir was eventually overthrown by his military in April 2019. His overthrowal, however, did not appease agitated protesters because a military took control of government, forcing protesters to continue their sit-ins. As expected, the military attempted to forcefully break the sit-ins, which resulted in the deaths of at least 35 protesters. What followed have been months of unrest that hopefully, the newly formed three-year transitional government comprised of Sudan’s opposition and military council, which was formed on Saturday after signing of a landmark pact, will quell.

Not only must the transitional government usher in peace, it should endeavour to reclaim Sudan’s place in the comity of nations. At the expiry of the transitional government’s mandate, the people of Sudan should be allowed to conduct democratic elections to choose their leaders as an expression of free will. Harnessing Sudan’s unexploited natural resources will, no doubt, put it on the path to economic recovery. A stable Sudan is good for regional peace and development.