“Un fruit ne tombe que quand il est mûr, mais devant l’ouragan et la tempête de l’histoire, mûr ou pas mûr, il tombe.”
“A fruit doesn’t fall until it reaches maturity, but buffeted by the storms and hurricanes of history, whether mature or not mature, it falls.”
Thursday, April 11, marked the end of one of the longest and most brutal dictatorial regimes in Africa when President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir of North Sudan was finally ousted after nearly 30 years in power. Bashir seized power in a coup in 1989 and his regime was notorious for its cruelty. The International Criminal Court has issued two arrest warrants on al-Bashir, accusing him of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Darfur. According to United Nations (UN) estimates, 300,000 people have died in Darfur.
President Bashir was toppled by the military elite, who were urged on by tremendous grassroots pressure from civilians. Protests began December 19, 2018, when Bashir’s regime tripled prices on bread, further impoverishing an already-suffering populace. The price increase ignited the mass movement that brought hundreds of thousands of protestors into the streets over a four-month period. The BBC estimates that 70 percent of the protestors were women. On April 11, the elite finally arrested al-Bashir and placed him in custody. General Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf, the former Sudanese defense minister, announced the news of al-Bashir’s fall over state-controlled media. His ouster sent shockwaves throughout the world. The news was received with joy and relief by the Sudanese people, who were relieved that their calls for al-Bashir’s removal were finally heard.
Mr. Mustasim, the secretary of the Sudanese community in Maine, told Amjambo Africa! that April 11 was one of the best days of his life. He was elated by the news that former President Bashir, who was behind the killings of many of his people in Darfur, had finally been toppled from power. He is closely following the news from Sudan. On Friday, April 12, he was troubled by a new development, which stated that General Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf, the former minister of defense, was going to replace Bashir. People view General Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf as pro-Bashir, and quickly began calling for his removal. On Saturday, April 13, General Abdul Fatah Burhan was chosen to lead the transitional government instead, and was commissioned to organize democratic elections, which are intended to hand power over to civilians and establish a democratic regime.
Trained as a lawyer in the Sudan, Mr. Mustasim holds a master’s degree in political science as well. He warned that the Sudanese people should be very careful to keep the country from falling into social and political chaos. He noted that several countries in Africa that have ousted longtime dictators have suffered greatly while trying to build a new political system. He says the situation in Sudan could quickly turn to chaos and anarchy if people don’t work together. On April 18, Voice of America reported that the Transitional Military Council (TMC), which is under mounting pressure as a result of the ongoing protests, transferred President Bashir from custody to prison, where he is awaiting trial. Several leaders from his government, as well as relatives of Bashir, have been arrested. The protestors are demanding that the TMC relinquish control of the government in favor of civilian leadership. There are more than 200 families from Sudan in Maine. They all pray for stability and a peaceful transition in Sudan.