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Sudan: The Aftermath of Hamdok's Resignation

Sudan: The Aftermath of Hamdok's Resignation

Wednesday, 5 January, 2022 - 12:30
Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok addresses people at the Friendship Hall in Khartoum, Sudan December 25, 2019. Picture taken December 25, 2019. (Reuters)

Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok threw the Sudanese political scene into disarray by announcing his resignation and therefore compounding the crisis and division in the country.

It appears as though the hopes that were pinned on Hamdok to help Sudan out of its plight and lead it towards becoming a stable, modern and prosperous state have all but evaporated.

In his resignation speech, Hamdok said his first and second governments had faced fateful challenges and massive difficulties. The end result was more division between the military and civilian partners that reflected on the government and society and hampered the state on various levels.

Hamdok had warned that the division had reached society and its various segments. Hate speech, accusations of treason and failure to recognize the other had started to emerge in the country, while dialogue appeared impossible between the parties. This all rendered the transition process fragile and fraught with hurdles and challenges.

Hamdok's resignation was largely expected among political and popular circles. Speculation over his resignation had occupied the country for about two weeks.

His eventual stepping down has exposed new flaws and left the country vulnerable and fearful of slipping into chaos and beyond.

Since last Sunday, the political scene was grappling with major questions over the fate of the country in wake of the vacuum left by Hamdok's resignation. Who will succeed him? Constitutionally, who has the right to appoint a new prime minister, knowing that work on the new constitutional document had come to a halt since the military coup on October 25. Does the current sovereign council, which was appointed by army commander, Abdul Fattah al-Burhan, have the authority to name a new premier? Or will an agreement be reached in coming days over another side that can?

It appears as though the leaders of the army are aware of what will happen. Burhan had underscored during a meeting with senior military leaders on Monday the need to form an independent caretaker government comprised of experts within weeks. The ministers would be tasked with specified duties that are agreed on by all Sudanese. Reports have said that a small committee would be formed in order to meet with civilian figures to agree on a new prime minister.

The question here is how will the civilian component react to the measures the army is determined to carry out? Will it approve of them or will the crisis escalate again?

Deputy Chairperson of National Ummah Party (NUP) Dr. Ibrahim Al-Amin said the measures announced by the army on October 25 - that effectively eliminated their civilian partner, dissolved the government, and removed articles from the constitutional document that governed the transitional period - were viewed by the civilian component as a total coup.

Any decisions taken after this are therefore considered unconstitutional. This includes the appointment of a prime minister, he added.

"At the moment, no party enjoys the constitutional right to name a new prime minister. The country is now ruled by a small group of people and they are managing affairs as they like," he remarked.

Burhan has two choices, said Al-Amin. He can continue with his coup and appoint a new prime minister. In this case, he will be confronted with more rejection, division, popular anger, violence and blood, and perhaps even the collapse of the state contract.

His other option is reconsidering his coup, announcing courageous decisions and ending the current collapse, added Al-Amin.

Meanwhile, the media has leaked the names of potential prime minister candidates, including former finance minister in Hamdok's first government, Ibrahim al-Badawi, who confirmed that he has been contacted, but demanded that national consensus, including the approval of the youth revolution bloc, be reached before he takes on the job.

Other candidates include Sudan's former ambassador to Washington, Noureddine Sati, who told Asharq Al-Awsat that he learned through social media that he was being considered for the post.

He stressed that he would refuse the candidacy, saying that all civilian forces of the revolution should be the ones to hold consultations to name a prime minister, who will play a pivotal role in ending the current crisis.

He added: "This is an opportunity for the revolutionary forces to prove their ability to overcome their differences and agree on a roadmap and a joint program over what remains of the transitional period."

Furthermore, he stressed that the sovereign council was not qualified to name Hamdok's successor.

"The sovereign council is tasked with approving the prime minister, who is chosen by the civilian component," he explained.

Hamdok's departure from the political scene "has complicated the situation and led to constitutional vacuum and caused an imbalance between the civilian and military components," Sati remarked.

He warned that Sudan was facing the worst case scenario because no political solution is in sight.

"The situation will only become right when the constitutional authority is reinstated, the constitutional document clause on naming a prime minister from the civilian component is implemented and a civilian government with executive powers is formed to lead the country to safety," he continued.

He urged the need to listen to the demands of the youth as they are the real force of change and they will form the future.

Journalist and political analyst Al-Gamil Al-Fadil shared a different view. He believes that Hamdok's exit from the political scene will have great benefits and create positive momentum that would revive the revolutionary movement.

He said that during the recent period, the military component had used Hamdok to avoid implementing the goals of the revolution.

"The mask now has fallen," he stated.

He explained that it was in the interest of the generals and the old political camp to have Hamdok around.

The old political camp had sought to reproduce past political practices that were adopted in the first democratic phase in the 1960s, the second in the 1980s and third in 2019.

"Hamdok was like an alien body that was planted in the political scene. His fabric is not aligned with the spirit of the constitution," said Al-Fadil.

"Revolution is an act of rebellion and rejection. It is an expression of change and attempt to reap several gains and hang on to them. His departure from the scene is therefore a rare opportunity for the revolutionary forces to retake the spotlight," he stressed.

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