Okello Oculi canvasses a special all-Africa summit on redemption of Sudan



Kwame Nkrumah described ‘’Neo-Colonialism’’ as economy exploitation of an African country without assuming political responsibility by which a colonial power is bound. Sudan’s current condition seems to exhibit a struggle by the head of the ‘’Rapid Support Force’’ to combine a neo-colonial status with that of ‘Neo-Militarism’. Military officers control rich gold mines in the country; control the flow of vast funds from Gulf States interested in acquiring huge spreads of land, and monopolise political power.

Saudi Arabia is reported to be eager to increase its investments to $2 billion to develop land for crop farming and livestock in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile regions. Abu Dhabi’s Fund for Development, the United Arab Emirate and Saudi Arabia in 2019 promised to inject 450,000 tons of food into Sudan. Their political goal was to attract Sudan away from hugging Iran and its allies, as well as Turkey.

Sudan has a rich legacy on Black African Pharaohs were descendants that followed the flow or River Nile from highlands of Eastern and Central Africa and built pyramids in Sudan and Egypt to replicate Ruwenzori mountains on the Uganda- Congo border; Kilimanjaro, Kenya and Elgon around a grand inland Lake Nalubale out of which flows the White Nile. The Ethiopia’s highlands are the source of Blue Nile.

The imperial legacy of Ancient Egypt drew labourers and slaves from Spain, France, Italy and Greece (on the northern banks of the Mediterranean Sea) to Iraq, Syria, Palestine and Saudi Arabia in its east. Those brought to sweat in building pyramids and irrigation agriculture were later followed by those seeking a better life as well as military conquest. In a flow that precedes current flows of immigrants to North America, Britain and the European Union – from former colonies in Asia, Africa and South America. Ottoman Turks subsequently sought to control sources of Nile waters.

Sudan experienced a counter-flow of power by Egypt under Ottoman control and Britain: their co-coloniser over ‘’Anglo-Egyptian Sudan’’. This legacy of Gulf States thrusting their interests into the country has also come with political instability. While joint exploitation by Ottoman Turks incited a nationalist revolution, the current instability is a product of a contest between Saudi Arabia, UAE and Abu Dhabi Fund for Development makes Sudan a ground of their contest against Iran and its allies.

Saudi Arabia’s ideological and economic record is vigorously contrary to significant themes in Sudan’s history. Apart from a successful revolutionary war, Sudan evolved the strongest Communist Party anchored in her trade unions during the Anglo-Egyptian co-domination. It is Nimeiry’s military dictatorship which started a vigorous repression of Sudan’s Communist Party. Being driven underground is, however, not the same thing as dying out.

The pumping of $3 billion into Sudan’s Central Bank under military rule -under and after Omar Bashir- must have flowed into personal accounts of top military officers and civil servants. Such corrupt use of the State would fuel anger and protest among supporters of the radical left; and is currently animating resilient protests in streets or towns.

Saudi Arabia would also endorse policies which deny Sudan’s women equality and open high cerebral participation in building national development. Bashir’s administration used skills used by military intelligence to penetrate social life in Sudan in enforcing penalties under their interpretation of Sharia Law. The injunction that males had obligation to seize ‘’inappropriately dressed’’ women for punishment by the police, added toxic practices which infuriated and drove women into joining protest demonstrations.

It has been claimed that leaders of the ‘‘Rapid Support Force’’ recruited militias from Chad, Mali and Niger to commit genocidal atrocities against communities in Darfur region under the title of ‘’Janjaweed’’. The bitterness so planted must fuel instability in Sudan’s politics. Driving and detaining these communities in displacement camps undermined food production for their self-reliance and sale into the national economy. This was not a good anchor for building legitimacy for Sudan’s governance.

This focus on official violence for governance led to the 2011 secession of South Sudan, taking with it 70 per cent of the country’s internal income. The blood-drenched loss of territory and its population desecrated the vision of Sudan’s leaders who, at independence in 1956, saw Sudan as a potential ‘’bridge between the Arab world and Africa’’. The current carnage against those demanding civilian democratic rule makes it imperative to hold a ‘special all-Africa summit on the redemption of Sudan’. The African Union’s principles of ‘’Peer Review Mechanism’’, and prohibition of military rule, justifies such collective intervention.

Professor Mahmud Mamdani blames political failure in Sudan on defence of privileges by two tribal elites from Khartoum and Omdurman. Africa must end this destructive group.