Mon. Jan 24th, 2022

Abdalla Hamdok’s resignation marks the latest upheaval in the country’s fragile transition to democracy.

Abdalla Hamdok, Sudan’s civilian prime minister who was ousted in a military coup in October and reinstated more than a month ago, said retired.

His step on Sunday came as mass protests that both the army’s grip on power and the subsequent agreement with Hamdok gripped Sudan for weeks. Hours before his television address, security forces killed three protesters, according to medics, the number of people killed since the coup has risen to 57.

Hamdok’s resignation marks the latest upheaval in the country’s fragile transition to democracy following the removal of longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir in 2019.

Here’s what you need to know.

What did Hamdok say?

Hamdok said in his speech that his mediation efforts with civilian and military officials “to reach the necessary consensus to deliver the promise of peace, justice and no bloodshed to our people” failed.

The November agreement the re-appointed Hamdok called for an independent technocratic cabinet under military supervision. But the agreement was rexpelled by the pro-democracy movement, which insists that power be transferred to a fully civilian government.

Hamdok announced his resignation, saying Sudan needed to engage in a new dialogue to agree on a “national charter” and “draw up a roadmap” to complete the transition to civilian rule.

He also warned that the political stalemate could become an existential crisis.

“I have tried as much as possible to prevent our country from falling into a disaster. “Now our nation is going through a dangerous turning point that could threaten its survival, unless it is urgently rectified,” he said.

Who’s Hamdok?

Hamdok, born in 1956, previously worked in Sudan’s Ministry of Finance and has decades of experience as an economist and senior policy analyst specializing in development across Africa.

In 2019, Sudan’s most important civilian coalition, the Forces of Freedom and Change, saw Hamdok as the man to help the country move towards democracy under its power-sharing agreement with the generals that overthrew al-Bashir in the wake of months long mass protests.

What was his record?

As prime minister, Hamdok oversaw the severe financial crisis that led to the anti-Bashir protests and continued after his removal. Inflation rose to about 400 percent as many struggled with poverty, shortages of medicine and power outages.

But Hamdok has successfully urged the United States to remove Sudan from its list of “state sponsors of terror” and persuade global financial institutions to provide debt relief and economic aid. During a September visit to the country, the World Bank chief said Sudan was making progress and asked for patience as the country navigated its transition.

Hamdok’s government also signed peace agreement with rebel groups to end conflicts in various parts of Sudan and criminalized female genital mutilation.

However, military and civilian leaders overseeing the transition remained at odds, with tensions often flaring up.

What has happened in the last 2 months?

On October 25, the army – led by General Abdul Fatah al-Burhan – placed Hamdok under house arrest and jailed members of his cabinet. It said elections would be held in July 2023.

Amid widespread international condemnation of the coup, Hamdok was reinstated almost a month later and signed an agreement to form a government of technocrats who set aside political groups.

Many Sudanese saw the move as a betrayal of their uprising and took to the streets nationwide, as speculation has escalated in recent weeks about Hamdok’s intention to resign amid the stalemate.

“His removal, as far as [protesters] “concerned, remove the last fig leaf that covered this regime and what remains is a full-fledged military dictatorship,” Ahmed El Gaili, a Sudanese lawyer and legal commentator, told Al Jazeera.

The political crisis has been exacerbated by other factors, including an acute economic crisis and new violence in the restless Darfur region.

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