Hemeti renews military’s commitment to exit Sudan’s political scene

Sudan’s Vice President of the Sovereignty Council and Commander of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Lt Gen Mohamed ‘Hemeti’ Dagalo, stated in a briefing yesterday that he is committed to his previous pledge to remove the military institution from Sudan’s political scene.

The Vice President of the Sovereignty Council, Mohamed Dagalo ‘Hemeti’ (File photo: SUNA)

Sudan’s Vice President of the Sovereignty Council and Commander of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Lt Gen Mohamed ‘Hemeti’ Dagalo, stated in a briefing yesterday that he is committed to his previous pledge to remove the military institution from Sudan's political scene.

In an RSF media briefing, Hemeti added that he would ensure that the military will “devote its efforts to the tasks stipulated in the constitution and the law”.

The RSF leader stated that he had held a meeting last Thursday with Chairman of the Sovereignty Council and Commander of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, during which they renewed their previous commitment to the military’s exit from power and leaving the matter of governance to civilians.

According to Hemeti, both he and El Burhan agreed that civilians should choose the civilian ministers and the heads of the Sovereignty Council.

He reportedly stressed his aspiration for the revolutionary forces to agree and form a fully civilian government to complete the tasks of the transitional period, “in a way that lays the foundations for a real democratic transformation”, Hemeti said.

Media advisor to El Burhan and the Sudan Armed Forces, Lt Gen El Taher Abu Haja, echoed Hemeti’s sentiments, but added that the “army would not hand over power except to a government agreed upon by all Sudanese or an elected government”.

Abu Haja’s decidedly more emphatic comments continued when he said in a press statement that “the armed forces are responsible, in terms of its law and the country's constitution, to protect the security and stability of the country and trust will only be handed over to those chosen by the people”.

‘Attempts to gain time’

According to Noureldin Salaheldin, a leading member of the Sudanese Congress Party, Lt Gen El Taher Abu Haja’s comments are in contrast to what El Burhan and Hemeti have stated regarding their withdrawal from the political area.

Salaheldin said that these conflicting visions act “as mere maneuvers and attempts to gain time” and told Sky News Arabia that "it is not possible to go to elections without reaching a definition of the Sudan crisis and determining the status of the military institution, which should not have a political role".

The Sudanese Congress Party member added that what was stipulated in the constitutional document regarding the involvement of the military in power was a mistake, and that should be avoided in the future.

Prominent leader of the Empowerment Removal Committee (ERC)*, Wajdi Saleh, said that the armed forces have recently turned into a political party, and Lt Gen El Taher Abu Haja’s statement is an “attempt to twist the truth”.

Saleh cited what was reported in the Sudan Armed Forces newspaper “by columnists and writers of various articles, who delve into political affairs and challenge the patriotism of political parties”, and concluded that they thus act as a political party, “adopting a specific vision, something members of the army do not do”.

He explained that the coup of October 2021 was not carried out by the Sudanese army as a whole, as the lower ranks were required to carry out orders, but the “commander-in-chief of the army took advantage of his position and led the coup”.

The ERC leader added that El Burhan aspires to achieve personal ambitions and is motivated by a desire to rule. Adding that, what happened was the desire and will of the armed forces to “dominate the Sudanese people in the name of the army, and to dominate the army in the name of the people”, Saleh said.

In an interview with Radio Dabanga, he explained that the putschists are constantly “questioning the positions of the Forces for Freedom and Change (FCC), in order to confuse their positions to show that there is a camp for civilians against the armed forces”.

Saleh described the current crisis as not between civilians and the military, but between supporters and opponents of the coup led by El Burhan on October 25, noting that there is a military component against the coup as well. 

* The full name of the committee is the Committee for Dismantling the June 30 1989 Regime, Removal of Empowerment and Corruption, and Recovering Public Funds. It was established by the government of Abdallah Hamdok at the end of 2019 with the aim to purge Sudan of the remnants of the Al Bashir regime. Empowerment (tamkin) is the term with which the ousted government of Omar Al Bashir supported its affiliates by granting them far-going privileges, including government functions, the setting-up of various companies, and tax exemptions. A number of its members were detained for a number of weeks following the military coup on October 25 last year.