Africa: Sudan Teaches Malians Not to Snuggle With the Military

Protests in Khartoum
19 September 2020

After being tired of their tyrant who soared to power democratically, Malians seem to have forgotten the danger coup d'états present so as to stoop before the putsch that arrested former president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and forced him to dissolve his government and resign thereafter.

The stance Malians have taken is no different from those Sudanese took after pulling down theirs, Omar Hassan al-Bashir. Initially, Sudanese supported the junta for not supporting the tyrant, which weakened him, so, too, they didn't want the army to seize power. What transpired during the struggle to dethrone Bashir was a very precarious and tricky situation. Two desperate and disparate sides sought to use each other for the benefit of the one of them. Because of this the army became instrumental in dislodging Bashir the same way it was in maintaining him in power for over three decades of corruption and misrule that saw Sudan; and later Sudan go to the dogs. It was under the mutualism with Bashir that the army became an accessory of the crime of destroying Sudan that ended up into two feeble and self-destructive countries.

On its side, mass action against Bashir--as was led by the opposition--wanted Bashir out so that there could be a democratic government. It didn't come to be after the army seized power after deposing the tyrant. This reminds us of the ballad of the piousness of the cat that cheated rats. Seeing the cats counting religious beads, rats wrongly thought he no longer ate them. As the day went by, the number of their little ones started to decrease. Later, the rats found that the cat was eating them under the pretext of religio.

Essentially, the army didn't interfere to save Bashir nor democracy. Nope. It had its hidden agenda of seizing the power from both Bashir and the revolutionists, which it did and succeeded to lure the opposition in the snare of forming the government together. If you want to tame a greedy dog guarding the property, throw the bones and offal to it as you loot the property.

After snatching power, the junta found that it would not rule without ganging up with a few elements from the opposition that actually instigated and executed the move that saw Bashir pulled down unceremoniously.

Similarly, the junta in Mali seems to have reciprocated what the Sudanese junta perfected. For, it decided to scheme how to co-opt some opposition elements in order to cling unto power illegally and contrary to the will of Malians. Thus, it recently said it would rule for three years; and thereafter would conduct elections. The ECOWAS didn't buy into this chicanery. Thereof, the junta recently said that it would like to be given two years to rule without telling exactly why other democratic institutions or a government rule can't. the ECOWAS stood its ground by refuting to buy into this ploy. Before long, the junta came with the suggestion of ruling for 18 months. This shows how desperate the junta currently is. ECOWAS must stay put to see to it that the junta isn't given even a single minute to sanction its illegal stay in power. Legally speaking, the army has no business to do in the statehouse. It must be forced to go back to the barracks.

Good lessons

There are some good lessons the Malians can gather from Sudan whose revolution the army robbed and superimposed its will on citizens who are now regretting this action. The following are important lessons for Malian to learn from Sudan:

Firstly, the army in Mali, just like anywhere, isn't after ruling the country but, its tops are after seizing and using the opportunity of being in power either to rob the public coffers or create and do their illicit businesses easily and safely. This is easy to clench. In Africa, politics is a very resonant business that assures those partaking it of quick mammon.

Secondly, for those facing some accusations of any criminal liabilities of or liabilities of any kind, being in power provides immunity against prosecution, even persecution. Refer to how the generals in Khartoum who were supposed to be bundled together and delivered to the ICC along with Bashir they toppled and refused to dispatch are still free people lording it over Sudanese not to mention keeping their taps well supplied.

Thirdly, the army is likely to squander the country¬¬ and its resources---as is the case in Sudan currently---so as to make the situation palpably worse than it was under the government they toppled. This is exactly what's ongoing in Sudan where the junta has proved to be ineptly corrupt thanks to the lack of experience and legality. Sudanese rose against Bashir because life was hard thanks to over two decades of decadence and incompetence. Essentials such as bread, flour and others were so expensive that common people wouldn't afford them. Further, the situation has direly worsened after the fall of Bashir so as to force Sudanese to envisage on going back to the drawing board to pull down the junta. Salaries are still small. Unemployment is now swelling whereby by one out of five employable people are jobless. Thus, living costs are exceedingly high.

When it comes to Malians, it seems, the opposition has been lured into a trap. When it starts beating them, will we really waste our breath for them if they don't hark what we're now telling them? Learning from Sudan's experience, as an African country facing the same experience, theirs should be once beaten, twice shy. Essentially, experience shows that the lesson humans learned from history is not learning from it so as to repeat the mistakes. African sage has it that he who beats the drum for the mad man to dance is no better than the mad man himself.

Why should Malians not trust and allow the army to remain in power?

Firstly, the army was the part of the deposed government. Thus, whatever mistakes the former regime committed touches on the army as well. We recently evidenced the same in Zimbabwe where the army supported mass action to end up remaining in bed with the ZANU-PF after toppling Mugabe to end up bringing more pangs and twangs to the country. Where is Zimbabwe after Mugabe? The same was replicated in Sudan thereafter. Where is Sudan after Bashir? Nusquam of course.

Secondly, by allowing the army to remain in power, Malians will be setting another precedent that'll motivate other soldiers to take power illegally. Not all baboons who enter a maize field come out satisfied. Never shall the hyena become a lamb; nor a snake become a rope.

Thirdly, Malians show how they didn't learn from the mistakes former juntas committed in Mali before. The child of a rat is a rat, a Malagasy proverb has it.

Fourthly, by purging the former regime and cohabitate with the current, Malians will become part and parcel of the misrule the army will bring in just like the others before it. You don't teach your dog to eat fowls, for it will start hunting your fowls in lieu of guarding them.

Fifthly, Malians need to sequester the opportunity from the support the ECOWAS has already extended to them to see to it that the army goes back to the barracks as soon as possible. It worked in The Gambia; and it can likewise work in Mali shall Malians fully and practically support it.

In sum, what is ongoing in Sudan has many lessons for Malians to not trust and entrust power to the junta. It might seem to be working for them temporarily. In the long run, when the true colours of the army surfaces, Malians will not only be crying but also paying dearly for the mistakes and myopia that have blindly and wrongly convinced them to share power with the junta. It is always easier to create a problem than to solve it. More importantly, the gratitude of a donkey is a kick. Put this in minds dear Malian brethren.

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