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SUDAN: Al-Bashir urges opposition to plan for 2020 elections amid protest

07.01.2019
Article from AFRIC Editorial
This saying that ‘Change is the only constant thing’, has always been reiterated by many people across the globe. For some time now, the world has been experiencing a revolution in all spheres, be it in the political social or economic domains. The rebirth or the reawakening of minds in Africa and especially in Sudan has affected so many things. In today’s Sudan, the opposition has risen against the leadership of President Omar Al-Bashir, blaming him for the hardship the nation is going through and calling for his departure. But the question is will Bashir’s exit solve the crisis in the country?

As the major opposition groups have remained defiant and bent on putting pressure on Bashir to leave, the incumbent has called on them to massively prepare for the upcoming presidential elections in the country which are billed for 2020. In an interview with London Based Al-Mustakillah TV, President al-Bashir said: “We have a popular mandate and came to power through elections supervised by a commission recognized by all political forces.”  Answering the question if al-Bashir’s departure will solve the Sudan crisis, Cameroon’s political analyst Shu Gerald said that the departure of al-Bashir is the start point of solving the crisis saying that President al-Bashir policies brought the nation to where it is today. According to him, the revolution is bring new hope to the people of Sudan.

ONGOING PROTEST

Saddened and tired by the high cost of living, many Sudanese took to the streets of Khartoum in the last month of 2018 to bemoan the living conditions. Of recent, Sudan has witnessed a price hike of basic commodities like bread, making life very unbearable for average citizens.  To this regard, Sudanese in December 2018 invaded the streets of the capital city of Khartoum, calling for sweeping economic reforms to tackle the persistent economic crisis that has severely affected the economy of the country.  Over 200 Sudanese took to the streets and about a dozen have lost their lives. Tight security has however been deployed to quell the manifestations in Khartoum and elsewhere in the country.

Major opposition groups in the country have also intensified calls for the resignation of President Omar Al-Bashir, blaming him for not doing enough to solve the nation’s diverse economic problems. Reacting to this recent demonstrations, President Bashir has vowed to find lasting solutions to economic crisis faced by the East Africa nation, urging citizens to shun activities that could further worsen their conditions and stifle economic growth.

CALLS FOR PRESIDENT BASHIR TO RESIGN

Sudan’s main opposition parties have intensified protests in a bid to exert more pressure on serving President Omar Al Bashir to resign. The Sudanese government has however remained firm that the amount of pressure can force President Bashir to quit.

The Bashir led administration has argued that only the ballot papers can determine a change of leadership in the country, calling all forms of manifestations against President Bashir to quit  ‘’unconstitutional’’.

President Bashir has urged Sudanese not to allow ‘’forces of destabilization’’ take hold of a country that is richly blessed and is en route to proper development.

ECONOMIC CRISIS

Since President Bashir took power in 1989 in a coup d’état, the economic crisis and the secession of South Sudan in 2011 are some of the challenges that have shaken the government of Khartoum. Over the years, the international community has maintained strained economic relations with al-Bashir’s government, calling on him to ensure a democratic transition of power. In the same light, Washington’s sanctions on Sudan in 1997, accusing Khartoum of backing terrorist organisations saw the African nation descend into recession. These strained relations inhibited growth at every level, a major challenge faced by the Khartoum government.

There was great hope and relief in the hearts of Sudanese when the US government in October 2017 announced that it was removing the grave economic sanctions on Sudan. Many Sudanese welcomed the lifting of sanctions with optimism that their economy was en route to witnessing refurbishment. However, their hopes failed to materialize as inflation remains at its highest in the country. In July 2018, the inflation rate stood at over 55%, the highest in decades.

Sudan, an oil-producing nation and agriculture oriented, was deprived three-quarters of its oil wealth in 2011, following a referendum that separated Sudan into two independent states i.e. North and South Sudan. In spite of all the pitfalls, President Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court has promised to take Sudanese out of the misery but cautioned that hardship is a part of life.

Article from AFRIC Editorial

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