Prime Minister of Sudan throws in the towel

The UN economist turned Prime Minister of Sudan, Abdallah Hamdok, threw in the towel on Sunday, after failing in his bet on consensus and partnership with the generals to lead his country to democracy after 30 years of dictatorship.

In August 2019, he embodied the hope of handing over power to civilians: for a time he was to share the leadership of this great East African country, one of the poorest in the world, with the army. almost always at the helm since independence.

Then, this gray mustached 65-year-old returned to Sudan in the wake of the “revolution” that overthrew Omar al-Bashir in 2019 would have taken the reins, surrounded only by civilians to organize the first free elections after three decades of military-Islamist dictatorship .

But the man who made a career in international and regional organizations, notably as deputy executive secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, suffered a first setback.

“Hostage” then “traitor”

On October 25 at dawn, soldiers disembarked at his home, taking him with his wife to General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane, the head of the army who shortly after announced the dissolution of all the country’s institutions and de facto put an end to the democratic transition.

The day before, however, the two men met the American envoy Jeffrey Feltman, both pleading for a democratic transition.

A month later, on November 21, the Prime Minister, who came to power with the support of supporters of a complete transfer of power to civilians, was released from house arrest and returned to his post under an agreement with the same General Burhane. .

At the same time, he became a “traitor” for the street, which had long called for the release of his hero “hostage”, who, by allying with the army, in fact facilitated “the return to the old regime”.

Mr. Hamdok, himself, pleaded good faith, assuring to want to “stop the bloodshed” in the face of a repression having made about fifty dead and to safeguard “the gains of the revolution” in the country which still begins its return in the concert of nations.

But on December 19, for the third anniversary of the launch of the “revolution”, he recognized “a big step backwards on the revolutionary path”, denouncing violence and political deadlock.

The father of two boys who studied agricultural economics in Khartoum before obtaining a master’s degree in Manchester, Britain, finally announced his resignation on Sunday, in a televised address to the nation.

“I tried my best to prevent the country from sliding into disaster, as today it is going through a dangerous turning point which threatens its survival. […] in view of the conflicts between the components [civile et militaire] of the transition […] Despite everything that has been done to reach consensus […] that did not happen, ”he argued in particular.

He who, thanks to the pledges given to international donors, had obtained a considerable relief of the national debt and a lifting of American sanctions, no longer wanted to play the role of civilian face of a military coup that has awakened the specter of ‘international isolation.

Peace and good governance

In addition to the economic gains, among the feats of arms of Mr. Hamdok, born in South Kordofan on 1is January 1956, figures the conclusion of a peace agreement in October 2020 with a coalition of rebel groups. Like Darfur and the Blue Nile, South Kordofan has for several years been the scene of conflict between rebels and government forces.

He who enjoyed his appointment as a champion of transparency and good governance, in particular for having refused in 2018 the Ministry of Finance that Bashir proposed to him, however, has not succeeded in providing the country with democratic institutions. – including a Parliament which is still waiting to be formed.

Smiling at his seizure of power, he promised the 45 million Sudanese to promote “the right vision and the right policies. [pour] face the economic crisis ”.

But in a country where essential infrastructure is lacking, economic austerity has only increased the discontent of a population impoverished by inflation to more than 300%.

In addition, faced with the all-powerful military, his government has never managed to obtain justice for the relatives of the more than 250 dead from the repression of the “revolution” of 2019. Since the coup d’état of October 25, 56 new deaths have been added to this long list of bereaved families.

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