A Sudanese pro-democracy group has condemned the UN chief’s comments urging citizens to support a deal that restores Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok, so that the country will have “a peaceful transition towards a true democracy”. Can you
The Sudanese Professionals Association, which was at the fore in the rebellion against former autocrat Omar al-Bashir, dismissed Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ comments late Friday as a “moral and political failure”.
Hamdok was ousted by military leaders on October 25 as part of a coup that drew international criticism and hampered Sudan’s delicate transition to democracy. He was reinstated last month in a deal amid international pressure calling for an independent technical cabinet under military oversight.
The SPA said Guterres’ comments were seen as a “justification for violence” against coup protesters, who vowed to continue their street demonstrations against the deal despite deadly violence by security forces.
The United States, its allies and the United Nations have condemned the use of excessive force against the protesters, who have since taken to the streets en masse. Dozens of protesters have been killed and hundreds more injured since the October 25 coup.
The agreement, signed on 21 November, angered Sudan’s pro-democracy movement, which accused Hamdok of allowing himself to serve as a fig leaf for continued military rule.
Guterres told a news conference on Wednesday that he understood the “anger” and outrage of Sudan, which has seen a military coup and does not want a solution involving the military.
“But I would like to appeal to common sense,” he said. “We have a situation which, yes, is not absolute, but which may allow a transition to democracy.”
The UN chief warned that questioning a solution that would reinstate Hamdok “would be very dangerous for Sudan.”
The SPA said it would continue the peaceful protests until a “full civil” government was established to achieve democratic change.
Hamdok’s reinstatement is the biggest concession the military has made since the coup, but the takeover has jeopardized the country’s transition.
Since his appointment in 2019, Hamdok has been the civilian face of the government and one of the most respected figures in the pro-democracy movement. But Sudan’s major pro-democracy groups and political parties have said the deal to restore them falls short of their demands for full civilian rule.
The head of the ruling Sovereign Council, coup architect General Abdel-Fatah Burhan, meanwhile said the deal was “a true start” for democratic change.
He told Saudi Arabia-owned satellite news network Al-Arabian in an interview broadcast late Friday that the military sought to establish a broad consensus with a “new political charter”, which would be announced soon.
“I am optimistic that most political forces will sign the new agreement,” he said. “It will be open to the inclusion of all political forces that seek to accomplish democratic transformation.”
Burhan has claimed that Hamdok has “absolute authority” to appoint his own technical cabinet, as stated in the November deal to reinstate Hamdok.
“We want them to have independent figures who don’t have political affiliations. … Also, there are no restrictions on them,” Burhan said.