Sudan gov’t rejects ruling council head’s move creating new body

Sudan gov’t rejects ruling council head’s move creating new body

Sudan’s transitional government has expressed its opposition to a move by the head of the country’s ruling council to create a new body with broad powers as the country navigates its fragile transition to civilian rule.

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan leads the sovereign council, a military-civilian body established in August 2019 following the military overthrow of longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir in the wake of mass protests against his rule.

The council, consisting of six civilian and five military figures, is Sudan’s highest executive authority and is tasked with leading the country to free and fair multiparty elections in 2022.

But a recent decree by al-Burhan has established a Council of Transition Partners (CTP) that is “responsible for leading the transition period, resolving differences [between those in power] and having all the necessary prerogatives to exercise its power”, according to Sudan’s SUNA news agency.

The decree was made public earlier this week.

Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s transitional government, which is charged with the day-to-day running of the country, disagreed with the creation of the TCP, saying al-Burhan has overstepped his prerogatives by conferring excessive powers on the new body.

Government spokesman Faisal Mohammed Saleh said in a statement on Friday the decree contradicted the “constitutional declaration” signed in August last year between pro-democracy activists and the military generals who removed al-Bashir, who had been in power since 1989.

“It is imperative that we declare our disaccord with the creation of the CTP in its current form,” said Saleh, who is also culture and information minister.

The statement said the CTP lacked representation and could not serve as a replacement for the yet-to-be formed transitional parliament, adding that the government and the sovereign council had agreed to limit the tasks of the new body to “coordinating and resolving disagreements that might emerge during the transitional period”.

Local media reported that Hamdok told the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) umbrella protest group of his disagreement with the powers accorded to the CTP.

“Its role must be purely consultative and in no case must it interfere in the activities of the executive and legislative bodies, nor those of the sovereign council,” Hamdok said, according to local media quoting political sources.

The FFC was the movement that led the widespread demonstrations against al-Bashir and plays a key role in Sudanese politics. It has also expressed its opposition to Burhan’s decree.