Sudan to name post-Bashir Cabinet as challenges loom

Thursday, August 29th, 2019 00:00 |
Premier Abdalla Hamdok.

Khartoum, Wednesday

After months of unrest, Sudan’s newly-appointed prime minister is due to announce a Cabinet that will be the first since veteran ruler Omar al-Bashir was deposed more than four months ago.

Premier Abdalla Hamdok is set to name his key picks from a field put forward by the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) — a grouping borne of a movement that initially took to the streets against Bashir’s 30-year rule and then forced the military rulers who deposed him to share power. 

“I received on Tuesday afternoon the nominees for ministers provided by the FFC,” Hamdok said, adding that it includes 49 nominees for 14 ministries.

The planned announcement comes after a joint civilian-military sovereign council was sworn in last week to steer the country through a three-year transition period. 

On Saturday, Hamdok told a local TV channel that he would select technocrats based on their “competence”. 

“We are looking to create a homogeneous team to level up to these challenges,” he said.

The cabinet is expected to be selected largely by Hamdok, with key exceptions being the interior and defence ministers, who will be chosen by the military members of Sudan’s ruling body.

The first meeting bringing together the new government and the joint ruling council is scheduled for September 1.

Women’s rights activist Tahani Abbas raised concerns about gender balance within the new government.

“I have mixed feelings toward the coming cabinet. The leaked composition of the government suggests that it doesn’t represent women to a satisfactory extent,” she said. 

In his Tuesday statement, Hamdok said he would take into account a “fair representation of women”.

Sudan’s 11-member sovereign council, which now rules the country, includes two women among six civilian appointees. The other five members are generals. 

Abbas has called for 50 per cent representation of women across transitional government structures. 

Earlier in August, the FFC and the generals officially signed a power-sharing deal outlining Sudan’s transitional period. 

The deal included forming a legislative body of no more than 300 people and allotted 40 per cent of the seats to women.

Sudanese analyst Osman Mirghani said “the coming cabinet will enjoy a massive popular backing as it confronts the challenges ahead.” 

The landmark agreement included a pledge to forge peace with armed groups within six months.  

Bashir was indicted by the Hague-based International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity and genocide in the vast western region of Darfur. -AFP

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