The trials and tribulations of Sudan’s president, Omar Al Bashir, are still ongoing as more citizens take to the streets to protest his rule and demand his resignation.
The protests, his reaction and insistence to stay in power have elicited discussions across the world, and one of Africa’s richest men has added his take.
Mo Ibrahim, a Sudan-born telecoms billionaire and founder of the eponymous foundation that focuses on leadership and governance in Africa, wants the International Criminal Court to drop charges against the besieged leader but on one condition: that he should step down.
“If that is going to save lives, if it is going to save us from a bloody civil war, let the man go in peace,” Ibrahim said in an interview with the BBC.
“Although I hate impunity, I mean people should be punished for their sins, but if that’s the price of letting the man go, fine,” the billionaire said.
Ibrahim’s foundation is responsible for assessing the status of democracy and governance in Africa and awarding exemplary former democratic leaders with a $5m prize.
Al Bashir is facing 10 charges relating to genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in the western Darfur region. His army in 2003 cracked down on dissidents from the region, who had taken arms to fight against his Arab-led government.
Although he was indicted in 2009, Al Bashir has defied two arrest warrants against him and has even travelled to countries that are signatories to the ICC freely, even though the Hague-based court pleaded for cooperation from these countries.
Since December 2018, Sudanese citizens have taken to the streets of different towns in the country to protest against the rising cost of living in the country where government subsidies on different products have seen prices skyrocket.
As in many other protests, the government reacted to the most recent in a brutal way leading to the death of at least 40 people and arrest of many others. Al Bashir has denounced the protests, blaming it on people influenced by the west.