Sudan Civil War: Lessons for Ugandans

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Recently, while sleeping in a Kampala suburb where I hail, I was woken up by noises that seemed to be coming from my neighbor’s backyard. My heart raced thinking ‘flying kick’ goons had invaded our neighborhood, but when I peeped through my bedroom window, the scene was quite different. It was a moment of happiness as a family welcomed their long-lost member.

Mutyaba, who had smuggled himself into Sudan for greener pastures in 2022, was finally home after being trapped in Sudan’s civil war, which started in April 2023.

He didn’t wait to settle down to narrate his ordeal, and since I had already lost my sleep, I stood next to the window, eavesdropping on the entire tale. First, I was surprised when the guy began speaking like an NRM councilor on a campaign trail saying, Long live Museveni! Long live UPDF. Having lived in this neighborhood for a long time, I joined the family in staring at Mutyaba, wondering what had happened to a renowned ‘people power foot solider’ to suddenly start praising Museveni, a man he was badly struggling to oust.

But when he got deep into the narration, we all got to understand where he was coming from. Mutabya narrated that when fighting started, he found himself trapped in a fierce battle between the Sudanese regular army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Force (RSF). Since he had entered the country illegally, it became impossible for him to contact Ugandan authorities who were evacuating Ugandans from the war zone and taking them back home.

With no hope of being evacuated, Mutyaba got to witness firsthand the horrors of war that have since transformed him into a peace-loving citizen who acknowledges the role the UPDF plays in maintaining Uganda’s peace and stability, he said.

He broke down in tears when he tried to recount the atrocities he got to witness during the days he was trapped on the battlefield. Mutyaba got so emotional that he couldn’t complete the story, but it was clear to everyone that what he had seen was horrifically traumatizing.

From my window, I could see a broken man who had learned from experience that citizens shouldn’t be thinking of plunging their country into a civil war because some western powers are saying that they need democracy.

I moved from the window and laid back on my bed, reminiscing about a documentary that I had watched earlier, titled The Forgotten War, which highlighted how Sudan, a country that was among the most developed in Africa, has been brought into turmoil with rubble as the only thing left of the capital, Khartoum, not forgetting over 15,000 people who have lost their lives and over 10 million displaced.

The news, the documentary, and now Mutyaba’s tale it would be unbecoming of me and fellow Ugandans if we didn’t get the lesson that, despite wanting to see regime change, it shouldn’t be at all costs to even opt for a civil war or mass uprisings that have plunged several African countries like Libya and Sudan into dire situations that will take decades to recover from.

Obviously, change will come to Uganda when the time is right, but we are not looking forward to one that is forced by the imperialists like it was done in Libya and Sudan.

As for Mutyaba, those who will meet him tomorrow will say “omusajja yalya” (he was paid off), but for me, who listened to his story, I know for a fact that “omusajja yayize” (he has learned a lesson).

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