SUDAN January marked the 60th anniversary of its independence from British colonialism on January 1, but the event was marked against a background where political leaders have failed to find solutions to the country’s political, economic and social crisis, according to Sudanese politicians.
The politicians are calling for a roadmap to establish a democratic state and resolve the country’s crises.
“Independence cannot be achieved unless the officials and the citizens adopt the lofty values of independence, unite their will, and work to develop their country by themselves,” Rabie Abul-Atti, a leading member of Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP), told Xinhua.
He called for efforts to achieve consensus and reconciliation to realise peace, exploiting the country’s potential and investing its capabilities to face challenges and achieve the aspirations of the people.
Kamal Omer, the political secretary of the opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP), acknowledged the Sudanese political elites’ failure to find solutions to the country’s continued problems, but he held British colonialism responsible for some of those problems.
“It is known that there are institutional issues that face any country that rids itself from the grip of colonialism. In Sudan’s case, the political elites could not institute a smooth shift because colonialism has succeeded in dividing the political forces which were active during the colonial era,” he told Xinhua.
He added that “we are a nation that has been divided since independence, to the extent that, during 60 years of independence, we have failed to agree on a permanent constitution that preserves the rights [of the people] and duties [of the state].”
He argued that the solution lies in reaching a comprehensive consensus that involves all the Sudanese people, regarding the ongoing national dialogue conference in Khartoum as an “opportunity” to reach such a consensus.
In the meantime, Abdul-Rahim Al-Sunni, a Sudanese political analyst, reiterated the importance of reaching a comprehensive national reconciliation based on the national values prior to reaching political consensus on the major issues.
“Until now we have not agreed on how to rule Sudan or on items of a constitution that [represents] all Sudanese diversity. We have not reached consensus on the essential issues of our nation. The political elites are responsible of this failure,” Al-Sunni told Xinhua.
Sudan gained its independence on January 1, 1956 from British-Egyptian rule.
History of instability
For 60 years, it has suffered political instability, with around 13 military coup attempts. Three of them succeeded - in 1964, 1985 and 1989.
It has seen three transitional governments, four elected governments and two popular uprisings that overthrew military governments in 1964 and 1985
To the south, Sudan is bordered by South Sudan which officially separated from it in 2011.
Following South Sudan separation, Sudan lost 25% of its area to become the third largest country in Africa, dropping from first position.
Over 96% of the population are Muslims, 3% Christians and 0.3% of other religions in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.
The official language in Sudan is Arabic.
It lost around 75% of its oil revenues following the separation of South Sudan, plunging the economy in great difficulties.