Kampala — The Mo Ibrahim Foundation has challenged the Sudan government to respect human rights and allow free press access in the ongoing political crisis that started in December last year.
Citizens in the North African country protested against the government of President Omar al-Bashir over the exorbitant prices of bread and worsening economic situation.
"The Foundation is following with increasing concern the recent political developments in Sudan, where peaceful protests by Sudanese people have escalated into violence and a heavy security crackdown," a statement issued by the Foundation on Friday, reads in part.
The statement comes at a time when regional powers have sided with Bashir amid worsening situation in the capital Khartoum. The Gulf countries including Qatar, Saudi Arabia and far major powers China, Russia and the United States were all with the view that the 75-year-old stays at the helm.
The Mo Ibrahim statement added that "this has so far resulted in several arrests of political opposition figures and the unfortunate loss of too many lives already. The Foundation also notes tight censorship around news on the protests in Sudan, with authorities restricting access to social media and the internet."
The last Ibrahim Index of African Governance, published in October, captured some deteriorating governance trends in Sudan, with worsening scores over the last five years in political participation, democratic elections, capacity of election monitoring agencies and civil society participation, as well as in freedom of association & assembly. Sudan featured in the bottom half of the rankings out of 54 African countries in each of these indicators.
The Foundation has urged the government to uphold the right of the Sudanese citizens to peacefully protest and express their legitimate grievances.
Attempts to get the Sudan government's response to the demand by the Mo Foundation were unsuccessful. The official embassy telephone contacts in Kampala could not go through by press time. Our e-mail inquiries were also not replied.
The Mo Ibrahim Foundation founded by Mo Ibrahim, a Sudanese businessman and philanthropist is an African foundation, established in 2006 with focus on the critical importance of governance and leadership in Africa.
The foundation conducts an annual governance index on the continent. It also recognises former presidents who have made significant contributions in good governance and peacefully left power through democratic means.