NAIROBI, Kenya, June 23 – Naomi Barasa, a 2018 Sir Henry Brooke Awards for Human Rights Defenders winner, has joined the growing list of activists piling pressure on the military in Sudan to hand over power to civilians.
Barasa said the Transitional Military Council should respect the people’s wish to prevent the Northeast African country from slipping into violence, in a region with several other unstable countries.
The ruling military council has been on the receiving end for killing more than a hundred pro-democracy people, who had camped outside the military headquarters in Khartoum early in June.
“The military should respect the will of the people. They want to control their destiny, the aspiration and inspiration,” she said.
Following the killings, the military council has since switched off the internet to curtail information leaving and getting into the troubled country.
The military removed Omar-al Bashir from power after a 3-decade autocratic rule, giving hope of a fresh beginning, which Barasa says can only be experienced if the people’s resolve is respected.
“The people of Sudan have spoken, and the leaders of Africa must listen to them,” she asserted during an interview with Capital FM News Friday.
“President Uhuru Kenyatta must take a leading role in resolving this.”
The United Nations Security Council has since called for an immediate ceasefire while the African Union suspended Sudan from engaging in all its activities until the effective establishment of a civilian-led transitional authority.
Right groups in the country have also joined the calls and want the Government to play a prominent role in ensuring there is a peaceful transition of power from the military to civilians.
“We are extremely concerned about the silence by African leaders because what is happening in Sudan has a huge direct implication for the region. If Sudan unhinges the way it is threatening to, there will be a huge refugee crisis that affects the entire region,” Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) Executive Director George Kegoro told Capital FM News during an aborted protest on June 19.
He said Kenya and Uganda would bear the weight of an unstable Sudan since the country is already hosting millions of refugees from politically troubled countries within the region.
“South Sudan already has problems and the fact that Sudan was stable it enabled some level of stability in South Sudan. Now if we have South Sudan unstable, and Sudan becomes unstable, we are going to have a movement of people who feel insecure coming down to the borders of Kenya and Uganda,” he cautioned.
Among their demands to President Kenyatta’s led Government include to “appoint an eminent person-led AU mediation team to help to oversee the transition to full
civilian authority and to support a broader program of conflict resolution, transitional justice and institutional reforms during the transition and if necessary, deploy an African Union peace keeping mission.
Urgently invite opposition forces such as the Sudan Professionals Association and the Forces for Freedom and change to address the council with a view to deepening
understanding of their perspectives and ambitions.”
They also want the Government to establish a mechanism to conduct an independent investigation into the attacks on protestors with the relevant support from the United Nations including cases of sexual and gender-based violence by armed groups.