At Last Sudan is Getting a 'Civilian' Premier

Published June 11th, 2019 - 09:28 GMT
Sudanese protesters have called for a mass rally today, insisting the army is not serious about handing power to civilians. (AFP/ File Photo)
Sudanese protesters have called for a mass rally today, insisting the army is not serious about handing power to civilians. (AFP/ File Photo)
Highlights
Sudanese opposition is set to nominate eight members to a transitional council.

The Sudanese opposition is set to nominate eight members to a transitional council and a name a prominent economist to head a government, announced a leader in the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) alliance on Monday.

The alliance planned to announce nominating Abdullah Hamdouk, a former executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, as new prime minister.

“This is in addition to announcing eight members of the sovereign council, including three women,” the source, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.

The source gave no further details.

The plan, which appears to build on a proposal by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed presented during a mediation visit to Khartoum last week, could help break a deadlock between the country’s military rulers and the civilian opposition in efforts to agree on a transition to democracy.

Abiy visited Khartoum on a mediation mission in which he proposed a 15-member transitional council consisting of eight civilians and seven army officers to lead the country to democracy.

Tensions have soared in Sudan since security forces violently broke up a protest camp in central Khartoum a week ago, killing dozens of protesters. The opposition have responded by declaring civil disobedience that has curtailed life in the capital.

Opposition sources have said that an aide of Abiy had been shuttling between the two sides trying to broker a deal after his one-day visit to Khartoum.

Abiy said on Monday on Twitter he had spoken to the head of the military council, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, about “mediation progress”.

The military council, in what could be a gesture to the protesters, announced on Monday that several government troops have been arrested pending legal action, after a preliminary investigation into the dispersal of the protesters last week found evidence of wrongdoing.

Opposition doctors say at least 118 people have been killed since the raid on the sit-in. The government has confirmed 61 deaths, including three members of the security services.

The DFCF alliance has tried to sustain the protest movement through a civil disobedience campaign that largely shut down Khartoum on Sunday.

On Monday, there was a little more movement on the streets and some shops had begun to reopen, including in Khartoum’s central market, but many stores and businesses remained closed.

“We are against the killing of civilians and we support the (protest movement) but today I returned to work because I earn my income day by day and I am the only source of income for my family and my children,” said Saleh Yaqoub, a 53-year-old shopkeeper, according to Reuters.


Meanwhile, the top US diplomat for Africa will head to Sudan to encourage talks between military rulers and protesters, the State Department said Monday.

Tibor Nagy, the assistant secretary of state for African affairs, plans to meet both members of the military leadership and protest leaders in Khartoum.

"He will call for a cessation of attacks against civilians and urge parties to work toward creating an enabling environment" for talks to resume, a State Department statement said.

Nagy will leave on the trip on Wednesday and also visit Ethiopia to discuss the Sudan crisis with the regional power as well as the African Union.

The senior diplomat will also visit Mozambique, where he will participate in a US-Africa business conference, and South Africa, where he will deliver a speech on US policy toward the continent at Wits University in Johannesburg.

This article has been adapted from its original source.


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