Sudan Army Chief confirms his support for Hamdok.

Gen. Abdel Fattah al Burhan and Abdalla Hamdok sign a political agreement in Khartoum Sudan. Getty ImagesGen. Abdel Fattah al Burhan and Abdalla Hamdok sign a political agreement in Khartoum Sudan. Getty Images

The head of the Sudanese Sovereign Council, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, yesterday said he supported the country’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, adding that the new cabinet appointments were made in coordination between both parties.

“The procedures and appointments which took place after the 21 November political agreement were made in coordination between me and Hamdok,” Al-Burhan announced during his meeting with the General Command of the Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces in the capital city of Khartoum.

The transitional government, Al-Burhan pointed out, would consist of “non-partisan representatives.”

The Sudanese official called on the army officers “not to pay attention to rumours that target the unity of the security system.”

Since 25 October, Sudan has been witnessing protests against measures taken by Al-Burhan including declaring a state of emergency, dissolving the sovereignty council, firing transitional ministers, dismissing Hamdok, and arresting political leaders and officials.

The move was condemned by international governments, while some regarded it as a “military coup”.

A month later, Al-Burhan and Hamdok signed a political agreement that included the latter’s return to his post as prime minister, the formation of a government, the release of political detainees, as well as joint efforts by both leaders to complete a democratic path.

The stakes for Sudan’s future could not be higher. Pro-democracy demonstrators and civil society leaders are committed to resisting the military’s takeover, which was led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan late last month, and they have used strikes and mass demonstrations to signal their support for a civilian-led government.

On November 21, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who for weeks had refused to acquiesce to the military’s plans despite being placed under house arrest, signed an agreement to rejoin the government, saying he was acting to prevent further bloodshed. But popular demands for a purely civilian-led transition persist.

Burhan will continue to try to project a sense of normalcy and convince the world that the transition is on track, despite the military making it plain that it reserves the right to seize power whenever it feels threatened.

He and his allies have restricted internet access and used mass arrests and sometimes deadly force to intimidate the population. But the anti-democratic forces are not a monolith; in addition to senior military officers, they include Islamists, former rebel leaders, and members of the irregular forces that committed genocide in Darfur during the Omar al Bashir and his National Congress Party (NCP).

The self-serving agendas of this group are often contradictory, and there is no guarantee of its continued cohesion.

Continued military dominance is not only a tremendously unpopular idea in Sudan, it is also an impediment to critical economic reforms. Only a combination of popular resistance and continued international pressure can salvage the revolution that Sudanese citizens began in 2018, and the path to genuine democracy and accountability will be difficult even in the best of circumstances.

Developments in Sudan will also reverberate throughout the fragile region, where democracy is under threat and civil conflict as well as interstate tensions is testing the capacity of regional, rules-based institutions to maintain order.

Protests have, however, continued as calls for civilian rule and the end of military involvement in government remain ongoing.

 

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