On Sunday, amid political stalemate and nationwide pro-democracy protests, Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok announced his resignation, following a military coup that obstructed the country’s frail transition to democratic rule.
In the televised address, he urged for a dialogue to agree on a “national charter” and to permit a chance for another person to behold the position and draw a roadmap to establish a “civilian, democratic country”.
The address came late on Sunday, six weeks after Hamdok regained his position in November after his deal with military’s leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan. The deal was to ensure an independent cabinet under military oversight. However, the widespread pro-democracy movement declined the agreement, and Hamdok failed to set up a new government with ongoing protests against the military’s power grab.
Abdalla Hamdok is a former UN official who became the Prime Minister of Sudan in November 2019. Following the military coup on October 25 of 2021, which took him under house arrest, he was reinstated on November 21 under an agreement that promised to conduct multiparty elections in 2023, under the power-sharing procedure, removing long time ruler Omar al-Bashir. But, his pro-democracy movement further frayed the civilian-military relations, and the recent announcement to insist on transferring power in the hands of a civilian has thrown Sudan into political uncertainty.
Threatening turning point
Born in 1956, Hamdok was identified as a man that could bring a political transition in Sudan. In 2019, Sudan’s civilian coalition body, the Forces of Freedom and Change, found him worthy to help the country in a smooth transition to democracy through power-sharing deals that overthrew al-Bashir, a long time ruler of Sudan.
Under Hamdok’s rule, Sudan managed to sign a peace deal with rebel groups to end disputes and conflicts in various parts of the nation. Along with this, it also criminalised female genital mutilation.
However, Hamdok’s resignation brought a series of crackdowns on pro-democracy protestors. On Sunday, before his resignation, military forces violently disbanded crowds protesting against the coup, killing at least three of them, as reported by the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors (CCSD).
He, therefore, addressed how he has failed to bridge the gap and settle disputes among civilians and political forces. His efforts to bring security, peace and justice, and mark an end to bloodshed went in vain.
He also warned the country that with the ongoing political unrest, the nation could witness a full-blown crisis that would result in damaging the country’s already thrashed economy. He shared his concern over the disastrous turning point of the country and the consequences in the future that could threaten its survival if not urgently rectified.
The medical group, which is part of the protestor’s group, reported that one of those who died was hit “violently” in his head and another shot in the chest amid the protest in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum and its twin city of Omdurman, respectively.
The death toll since the military takeover on Sunday stands at 57, whereas hundreds have been wounded.
Amid the political deadlock, the US Department of the state released a statement on Twitter urging Sudan leaders to “set aside differences, find consensus, and ensure continued civilian rule”.
Following Hamdok stepping down as Prime Minister, the country has been going through an upheaval. The military has said that it will allow peaceful movement and charge the ones found erupting violence.
Hamdok’s resignation has left the nation to uncertainty. It is too soon to predict the future political settlement. However, international condemnation of the coup urges a settlement in favour of the civilians. Furthermore, the political crisis has been exacerbated by other factors like the severe economic crisis and the recent explosion in the Darfur region.
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