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Broad opposition against Sudan’s Transitional Partners Council

December 7 - 2020 KHARTOUM
Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan when he was sworn-in as chairman of the Sovereign Council in August 2019 (SUNA)
Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan when he was sworn-in as chairman of the Sovereign Council in August 2019 (SUNA)

The Council of Ministers, civil society organisations, Resistance Committees, the Forces for Freedom and Change, and political parties reject the formation of a Transitional Partners Council, announced by the head of Sudan’s Sovereign Council, Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan last week.

El Burhan issued a decision last week to form a Transitional Partners Council (TPC) of 29 members, six from the military, the prime minister, 13 from the Forces for Freedom and Change, and nine members of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebel alliance that signed the Juba Peace Agreement with the government on October 3.

Asked about the decision, which was reportedly taken on December 1 and leaked to the press three days later, El Burhan said that it came in consultation with the Council of Ministers and was based on a proposal of the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC).

Ismail Abouh, a leader of the Sudan Liberation Forces Alliance which is member of the Sudan Revolutionary Front, responded by saying that the establishment of the TPC was carried out to align the Juba Peace Agreement with the Constitutional Document “to make the transitional period successful”.

In press statement on Friday, the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), the driving force behind the revolution and initiator of the FFC, called the move “contrary to the spirit of the December revolution and the goals of the transitional period”. The SPA “refuses the so-called TPC in both form and content”.

Sovereign Council member Aisha Mousa described the decision of El Burhan as a “violation of the Constitutional Documentsigned by Sudan’s military and the FFC in August last year. It is “a clear transgression of proper democratic practice,” she stated in a letter addressed to PM Abdallah Hamdok on Friday.

Both the Council of Ministers and the FFC Central Council reject the powers that are to be allocated to the Transitional Partners Council.

The FFC Central Council said in a statement on Saturday that they agreed with Hamdok to form a quadripartite committee consisting of representatives of the parties to the Sudanese peace agreement, the Council of Ministers, the FFC, and the military. They will “conduct a constructive dialogue about everything related to the Partners Council, its competences, tasks, and regulations governing its work”.

Political parties

According to the Sudanese Congress Party, a leading member of the FFC, “the wording of the decision to form a Partners Council is unacceptable and does not comply with what has been agreed upon before”.

The National Umma Party accused “some parties to have a hidden agenda to try to disrupt the march towards democracy, and try to deviate from the original idea of ​​a Transitional Partners Council in terms of form, competences, and composition”.

The Sudanese National Alliance called for “freezing the work of the TPC until further consultations have been made”. It seeks “a reasonable representation of women and youth, and all parties to the peace agreement”.

Civil society organisations, including the No to Women’s Oppression Initiative in Khartoum, as well as a large number of Resistance Committees also reject the new Partners Council.

The Sudanese Civil Society Organisations Confederation has lodged a complaint at the Constitutional Court against the decision of the Sovereign Council to amend the Constitutional Document.

Last week, civilian Sovereign Council member Siddig Tawir said that the role of the Sovereign Council is “limited and honorary”. According to Tawir, the Council of Ministers is the body that deals with peace, foreign relations and reform of the security services. “Any interpretation of the Constitutional Document that takes away powers from the Council of Ministers is not valid because the revolution broke out in order to establish a civilian government and to put an end to the situation that the president has all the power,” he said.

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