The Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) yesterday condemned the appointment by the head of the Sovereignty Council, Commander-in-Chief of the Sudan Armed Forces, and leader of the military junta, Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, of five retired army and police officers as ambassadors at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs earlier this week.
In a statement on Thursday, the mainstream Forces for Freedom and Change, the FFC-Central Council, said that El Burhan’s decree issued on Monday “reflects the contradictions in the repeated statements of the coup leader since his speech on July 4”.
In his speech to the Sudanese last week, El Burhan announced the military’s withdrawal from the current governing bodies, and gave the civilian opposition groups in the country the opportunity to form a government of technocrats during the transitional period that should lead to general elections. The contents of El Burhan's speech triggered a myriad of condemnations from the various opposition groups in the country.
The FFC said in its statement that the military's decision to appoint generals as ambassadors “reveal the real intentions of the junta, namely to dominate all aspects of life and to militarise civil functions, including foreign relations.
“This decree restores the Al Bashir’s empowerment policies that lack any [legal] basis or standard. It provides high-ranking jobs as rewards for those who served the regime, regardless of their weak capabilities and lack of technical qualifications for these jobs. Such decisions harm the country and taint its image in regional and international circles,” the alliance said.
The statement pointed to “the clear tendency to favour military security at the expense of the diplomacy” that can be seen as “an indicator of Sudan’s return to the circle of regional conflicts, instead of its role after the glorious December revolution to promote stability and peace in the region through diplomatic actions”.
Since the October 2021 coup d'état, practices known from the Al Bashir era are reappearing on all levels of society in Sudan. The military junta has reintegrated civilian remnants of the ousted regime into the government. “These measures include appointing party members to ministerial positions, unfreezing their financial assets and stacking the civil service with NCP loyalists,” Salah Ben Hammou wrote in his analysis in The Washington Post last week.
The Forces for Freedom and Change alliance was formed in early 2019, by opposition groups and parties that had signed the Declaration of Freedom and Change – proclaimed on January 1, 2019 by the Sudanese Professionals Association, the driving force behind the revolution against the 30-year regime of dictator Omar Al Bashir.
Since then, the various members of the FFC cooperated together in their quest for a democratic Sudan, but views often diverged on the best way forward and the extent of cooperation with the military junta that had ousted Omar Al Bashir in a coup d’état on April 11, 2019. The Communist Party of Sudan distanced itself early from the FFC as they fiercely oppose any cooperation with the military – like most grassroots activists. The National Umma Party kept aloof of the alliance, keeping to its own policies, as it used to do in former years.
During the year following the Constitutional Declaration in August 2019, in which the FFC and the military junta agreed to preside the country together during a transitional period of 39 months, sources reported that the FFC became more and more divided, and was falling apart into four different groups. Yet, the FFC managed to overcome the internal mistrust to a certain extent, and continues under the name FFC-Central Council.
Last year, a group dominated by members of former rebel movements split off and formed the FFC-National Accord faction. The faction, also known as the National Accord Forces, is chaired by Mubarak Ardol, the former spokesmen for the Sudan People Liberation Movement-North, who became director of the Sudanese Company for Mineral Resources during the rule of Al Bashir.