Advertisement

Sudan ministers resign as govt makes room for rebel leaders

Wednesday July 15 2020
khartoum

Demonstrators in Khartoum on July 4, 2020. Several senior government ministers have resigned in calls for reform. PHOTO | AFP

By MAWAHIB ABDALLATIF

Sudan inched closer to settling long-running negotiations with rebel groups after senior Cabinet members resigned this past week to pave the way for the inclusion of fighters.

The resignation of the ministers could now meet one of the demands by the Sudanese Revolutionary Front, a grouping of former fighters against ousted leader Omar al-Bashir, and who had been negotiating with the Transitional Government for admittance.

Earlier, Prime Minister Abdulla Hamdok had pledged to respond to a memo by the Front after the June 30 demonstrations by hundreds of marchers demanding “completion of the revolution”.

Representatives of rebel groups could take up the ministerial posts, although it is up to the former fighters themselves to share them out.

In a press release, Dr Hamdok said the ministers had established a new tradition in public service through their dedication, sincerity and integrity, and that their resignation was a sacrifice for the country.

The ministers who resigned were Asmaa Mohamed Abdallah of Foreign Affairs, Ibrahim Al-Badawi of Finance and Economic Planning, Minister of Energy and Mining Adel Ali Ibrahim, Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources Othman Sharif, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Hashem Taher Sheikh Taha, and Minister of Animal Resources Dr Alam Aldeen Abdallah Absher.

Advertisement

The PM issued a decree exempting Minister for Health Akram Ali Al-Tom from resigning.

Appeasing demonstrators

Minister for Information Faisal Muhammad Saleh said the Transitional Government would work to implement the demands of the June 30 demonstrators into executive decisions.

Until the resignations on Thursday, a formal peace deal between the Sudanese Transitional Government and the Sudanese Revolutionary Front, an alliance of rebel movements, appeared headed for further disarray after parties did not agree on some of the proposals.

South Sudanese mediator in Khartoum Tut Gatluak had indicated that a peace agreement could be finalised “in a week”.

But the Sudanese Revolutionary Front, differed with the Transitional Government on six proposals, including their representation in the legislative assembly. The groups also haggled over security arrangements to secure the transformation of rebels.

Mr Gatluak said this week’s Khartoum sessions “discussed the outstanding issues, and the negotiating delegation reached an agreement on the outstanding issues that they could not resolve in Juba due to the coronavirus pandemic”.

On Tuesday he told local media in Khartoum that “the remaining issues are simple”.

The two sides discussed six proposals that had been put forward by the Revolutionary Front delegation. A member of the mediation team Dio Matok said both sides had been frank about the issues.

The issues negotiated include how much to involve other rebel movements in the Transitional Government. These groups had been unified against ousted leader Omar al-Bashir, but were not part of the initial power-sharing arrangement established last August.

A source at the meetings indicated that the transitional government and the armed struggle movements had agreed to extend the transitional period to 39 months, which would take effect from the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. They also agreed on the representation percentages in ministries and the Legislative Council.

The groups also agreed to exclude the members of the armed struggle movements who signed the peace agreement from the provisions of Article 20 in the constitutional document, which prevents the occupants of constitutional positions in the Sovereign Council and the ministry council or regional governors from running in the upcoming elections.

The agreement stipulated that the members of the armed struggle movements submit their resignations six months before the end of the transitional period, so that they can run for the next elections.

Regarding the authority, it was agreed to increase the members of the Transitional Sovereign Council and grant the Revolutionary Front three seats in it.

For the ministries, the revolutionary front will take about 25 per cent, equivalent to four non-comprehensive ministries, Interior and Defence, provided that they agree to redistribute them. The parties agreed to send high-level delegations to Juba next week.

Advertisement