Opinion: Omar al-Bashir, a moderate dictator

By Bol Khan

Ex-Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

August 20th 2019 (Nyamilepedia)Sudan’s former leader Omar al-Bashir was a moderate military dictator. During his reign, several chronological and political mistakes took place. One, he forcefully seized power from civilians’ hands in 1989. Two, he ruled the Sudan with an iron fist for three (3) good decades. Three, so many Sudanese [innocent] people died during his rule but he had shown no quick sympathy for civilians’ sufferings. These are few political and chronological mistakes Omer El Bashir had done in the then United Sudan! History has now registered his name as one of the long served Dictators in Africa’s continent.

However, on the other hand, Bashir also played a noteworthy and liberal leadership role. As a leader, he amicably solved other national issues using his political wisdom. Southern Sudan’s struggle for Independent would never have been that easy without Omer El Bashir. This is how I looked at it! I thanked him (Pres. Bashir) in writing like this in 2011, for the job well done. Hence, this is an updated version of that previous appreciations note, which I would have written after he left power in April this year. Unlike his predecessors, Bashir had shown strong political will in Sudan. He led and allowed a fair process of self-determination for the people of South Sudan until they chose “Separation” in 2011. In my view, Pres. Bashir therefore deserves special thanks and appreciations from the people of South Sudan. He dedicated part of his leadership role solving politically the chronic and deadly problems between the North and South.

First, he signed Khartoum Peace Accord (KPA) in April 1997 with Southern Sudanese factions. The agreement became a milestone in the history of Southern Sudan’s struggle for total independent. This happened eight (8) years after Bashir took over power in Sudan. Practically, KPA of 1997 cleared a polluted political air as to what exactly the South Sudanese people were fighting for between the two in the bushes (a Unity or Separation). Starting from 1997, Pres. Bashir could become proactive enough, listening only to feasible suggestions aimed at fair ending of Africa’s longest civil war without further bloodshed in the country. He did this in coordination with South Sudanese pro-independence Leaders.

Second, in 1998, Bashir incorporated into the Sudan’s Constitution for the first time in history, the right to Self-Determination for the people of South Sudan. On the same token, from 2005-2011, he implemented the CPA in good faith, and in a letter, especially articles meant to make Referendum a successful process. In our views, Pres. Bashir will remain in history as the Sudan’s most moderate military-politico leader ever. Actually, there was no tangible reason to force up a unity of the parents, whose children were not playing and not culturally dancing together in their social events. Perhaps, Bashir did not bother himself much to make a “unity attractive for the people of Southern Sudan” as CPA demanded, because his predecessors made unity already unattractive to Southern Sudanese people.

Third, President Bashir despite the North losing the richest part of the Sudan, he was the first regional leader to accept Referendum result, the separation of the South from the North. Moreover, on 9 July 2011, he also became the first Head of State and Government in the region to recognized South Sudan as Independent County.

Fourthly & finally, he would voluntarily abdicate power on 11 April 2019. Here, he scored some few political marks. Why, because what he did was what a moderate military political leader could have done. Most of the people worldwide including this author couldn’t expect him to leave power the way he did it. Because Bashir himself (a Military leader) ascended into power by use of force, a practice, which I would have completely banned if I were Africa Union. I thought the Sudan was going to be like Syria and Libya, to mention but a few.

Therefore, Pres. Omer El Bashir deserves thousand, sincere thanks and appreciations from the people of South Sudan and the world because of an entire work done by him as narrated above or summarized below:

  • President Omer El Bashir had shown true political will during the CPA implementation, he led a free and fair referendum process until South Sudan got its Independence in July 2011;
  • Pres. Bashir had finally relinquished the Sudan’s Presidency, without too much blood; a Presidency that he took over through military might in June 1989.

All these aforementioned short accounts manifest that Omer El Bashir was a Military but moderate Political Dictator who successfully managed to solved the Sudan’s major political problems.

The author is a South Sudanese is a civil society activist and can be reached via khanrom8@gmail.com


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