The United Nations said on May 2, 2023 that the fighting in Sudan had produced around 334,000 internally displaced persons, while more than 100,000 have fled to Egypt, Chad, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Central African Republic (CAR)—countries that are facing their own stressors (Africa center for strategic studies, 2023). These figures are surely an undercount as humanitarian access and communications with much of the country have been cut. UNHCR warns that 800,000 people could flee Sudan because of the conflict. The World Health Organization recorded around 26 attacks on healthcare facilities, some of which resulted in casualties among medical workers and civilians. The Sudanese Doctors’ Union said more than two-thirds of hospitals in conflict areas were out of service with 32 forcibly evacuated by soldiers or caught in the crossfire. The United Nations reported that shortages of basic goods, such as food, water, medicines, and fuel have become “extremely acute” (UN, 2023). The delivery of badly-needed remittances from overseas migrant workers was also halted after Western Union announced it was closing all operations in Sudan until further notice. The World Food Programme said that more than $13 million worth of food aid destined for Sudan had been looted since the fighting broke out (WHO, 2023).In addition to displacement and famine, the conflict in Sudan has also resulted in other humanitarian crises, including widespread violence against civilians, sexual violence, and the recruitment of child soldiers. These acts in Sudan and by extension Africa put the continent in a precarious position and if not properly addressed are likely to be exploited by extremists to destabilize the continent
International organizations such as the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU) have also played a role in Sudan’s ongoing conflict. The UN has deployed peacekeeping forces in Sudan to help maintain peace and security, the mission has been criticized for its inability to end the conflict. Although the AU has also been involved in peace negotiations and has facilitated talks between the various parties involved in the conflict, these are not enough to deal with the situation.It is,also, worth stating that while the war in Ukraine received international media attention and the world powers acted promptly, the same cannot be said about the Sudan crisis. The international community was also swift in condemning the war in Ukraine perpetrated by Russia. However, the silence is similar to the case in the Rwandan genocide. In 1994, in the heat of the Rwandan genocide where about 800000 Tutsis and Hutus moderates were killed in the first hundred days, the African Union, formally the Organization of African Unity and the United Nations sat aloof even though Boutros Boutros Ghali, an African was the UN Secretary-General.
If these events are to go by, the questions that must be asked are: whether the African Unionis capable of serving Africa, and does African life matter at all?whether this is the Africa that our forefathers dreamt of and fought so hard for her independence? Can be true that when Africa is mentioned then such words as poverty, high illiteracy, high mortality, poor development, political instability, and civil unrest are associated with her?One should ask for how long will Africa continue to wail and wander among her peers with no rest for lack of peace and prosperity?Then the words of the former President of South Africa, Botha, are still alive and well when he said that the black man is a symbol of poverty, mental inferiority, laziness, and emotional incompetence and that if you give Africans a gun, they will kill themselves.This somehow has made some scholars conclude that the AU is a fraudulent trojan horse or a toothless bold dog that can only bark but cannot bite. Fifty-five countries in Africa yet continue to beg for support and aid from external donors. The remark of President William Ruto of Kenya is worth referencing when he said that the fifty-five countries in Africa have failed when they cannot provide seven million euros to Sudan and only looked unconcern for the European Union to commit seven million euros to support Sudan in the face of her crisis. We can’t continue to be regarded as second-rated beings.
Africa must rise to the occasion and deal with the African problems. Let me use the words of Langenhoven, who said, if we are in front, we can wait for time but if we are behind, it does not wait for us. The vast resources such as gold, diamond, bauxite, rubber Cocoa just to mention a few combined with technology can solve many of Africa’s underdevelopment if we eschew the greed, corruption, selfishness, and tribalism, eliminate the winner takes all mentality and put the good of Africa above personal objective.Africa must also define for herself what she wants and moving forward what she will do to achieve that and stop the political and moral squint to the West. Africa must learn to eat and patronize what it produces. No wonder Ali Mazrui said Africa produces what it does not consume and consumes what it does not produce. The continent of Africa must exorcise the ghost of fear and negativity and embrace the painful yet soothing medicine of science and technology to develop Africa. Africa,rise for the glory of a man walks hand in hand with his doom and you cannot get anything under the bed without bending.
In effect, the crisis in Sudanrequires more than just the government of Sudan to tackle the situation but the collective efforts of Africa andthe international community to prevent further catastrophes. The African Union which has been sleeping must wake up to the challenges of Africa and find lasting solutions to the numerous coup d’étatsas well as the civil unrest the continent has witnessed since independence. Africa must charter a new path if she is to survive and claim her position in international politics and be able to sit as a diner at the dinner table among her peersand not a beggar to eat crumbs. Africa will develop by Africans, not by anybody outside no matter how convincing the West may appear to be championing the development of Africa. They normally act in stealth to torpedo the very efforts of Africa to meet her needs and demands.
By Mr. Emmanuel Kotin, Godfred Alanya, Thomas Akandak
(African Center for Security and Counter-Terrorism)