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Opinions of Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Columnist: Rhulani Thembi Siweya

Sudanese have had enough

By: Rhulani Thembi Siweya

The controversial government of President Omar al-bashir of Sudan has pardoned jailed fighters from Darfur who have been in prison for many years through exchange deal with rebels groups who have been on a prolonged and protracted battle for decades. President Omar al-Bashir and his government are cited for war crimes in Darfur region and himself is sort by International Criminal Court.

Human rights defender Dr Mudawi Ibrahim Adam has been in prison since December 7. He has yet to be charged. His driver and several associates, including Darfuri activist Hafiz Idris, were also detained. Idris, who hails from a sprawling displaced person’s camp in South Darfur, also remains in detention without charge.

The gesture of prison swap by Khartoum Government and Darfuri rebel groups, present to a limited extend, an elusive sense of hope and some level optimism that has been absent for years since the outbreak of catastrophic civil war which killed the defenceless hundreds of thousands and displaced over 2 million innocent Sudanese, with many casualties been women and children. The civil war has also led to secession of South Sudan from the mainland North.

Development of Sudan

In this context, peace in Sudan, if it is to be realized, should be understood as more than a mere cessation of armed confrontations, but should be the embracing of absolute presence of justice. Sudanese peace should be premised on practical ideals of addressing factors and forces that impede the realisation of human rights.

The battered hoped and aspirations of people of Sudan have been disrupted by one of the longest and most devastating civil wars in modern history. And to restore them, both government and rebels should open peace talks aimed at ending the hostilities and embracing human life.

For peace in Sudan to hold, it should not be a process undertaken by the elite and sine western powers who subject their interests with exclusion of various civil society formations. It is early to wholly give up on the democracy, peace and justice and world leaders should enforce debates aimed at a lasting peace. Sudan should be made to embark and agree on genuine peace protocols that adequately guarantees Sudanese all instruments essential for democracy, equity, national identity and human rights.

Such protocols should embrace accountability and transparency. And if this opportune moment of forging peace can fall within the cracks, self proclaimed leaders of Sudan and the belligerents won't be discounted from returning to full scale civil war, with human tragedy being something that will be inconceivable.

Rhulani Thembi Siweya is the founder of Africa Unmasked, ahe is also an NEC member of the ANCYL and writes in her personal capacity.