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Sudan rebels take issue with Forces for Freedom and Change

August 22 - 2019 KHARTOUM
Negotiations between the Forces for Freedom and Change and the Sudan Revolutionary Front in July 2019 in Addis Ababa (Social media)
Negotiations between the Forces for Freedom and Change and the Sudan Revolutionary Front in July 2019 in Addis Ababa (Social media)

The Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF, a coalition of armed movements) launched a vociferous verbal attack on the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) at a press conference at the headquarters of the Democratic Unionist Party in Khartoum yesterday. Deputy head of the SRF El Tom Hajo accused the FFC of hijacking the revolution and called the formation of the Sovereign Council “one of the worst types of bargaining”.

SRF leaders met with a delegation of the FFC in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa at the end of July. The parties concluded their talks on July 25 with the signing of the Addis Ababa Agreement. The full content of this agreement has never been published.

The rebel leaders complain that the Addis Ababa Agreement was not included in the Constitutional Declaration, signed by the Forces for Freedom and Change and the Transitional Military Council. It now seems that the Addis Ababa Agreement promised representation of the SRF in the Sovereign Council, that was installed on Monday. The rebel groups are at this moment not represented in the Sovereign Council that will rule Sudan for the next three years.

Hajo complained at the press conference yesterday that the FFC “did not adhere to the quotas [on the Sovereign Council ed] set”. He also said that the SRF did not demand quotas in Addis Ababa but peace.

Share of power

According to Hajo, the FFC aims to push the SRF out of the Addis Ababa Agreement, to guarantee that the FFC has a greater share of the power. He said that the FFC objected to the inclusion of the Addis Ababa Agreement in the negotiations with the junta.

He said that in general, the FFC dealt provocatively and arrogantly in relation to representatives of the SRF.


Nimir Abdelrahman, former head of the Sudan Liberation Movement-Transitional Council (SLM-TC), which is a member of the SRF, said the FFC deviated from their original course and did not respect the participation of the followers of the SRF in the revolution as well as the declaration of a cease-fire in support of the revolution.

He accused groups in the FFC that they believe that change is limited to a specific party or group, pointing out that the armed movements initiated the revolution in 2003 and made many sacrifices.

He said the SRF demanded basic issues concerning the wars in the country that addressed the roots of the crisis and has not demanded quotas or jobs.

Bushra El Sayem, a leading member of the FFC, criticised geographical quotas while forming the Sovereign Council, saying that regions shouldn’t be represented but parties.

National Forces Coordination

The National Forces Coordination, a coalition of rightist, Islamist parties affiliated with the former Al Bashir regime, announced their opposition to the new government, and claimed it will seek to bring it down by peaceful means.

“Some of those in the current Sovereign Council are wanted by the International Criminal Court,” the group claimed in a statement on Wednesday.

The newly formed coalition includes the Popular Congress Party, the Reform Now Movement (established by dissidents of Al Bashir's National Congress Party), and the Just Peace Party, founded by El Tayeb Mustafa, an uncle of the ousted president.

Yesterday, at a press conference of the National Forces Coordination, Ali El Haj, Secretary-General of the Popular Congress Party, described the new government as “a bilateral military government repeating the experiences of the former regime”. The Popular Congress Party was established by the late Dr Hasan El Turabi who was the driving force behind the coup that brought Omar Al Bashir to power in 1989.

In El Haj’s opinion there has been a soft coup and the military in the Sovereign Council does not represent the army.

He launched a sharp attack on the Constitutional Declaration, describing it as partisan and exclusionary, explaining that it does not mention a single word about general elections.

He called for elections within a year, explaining that the National Forces Coordination will draw up an election law.

El Haj announced that they will form shadow governments in Khartoum and in the states.

He affirmed the refusal of the Popular Congress Party to participate in the cabinet and parliament, stressing the priority of the peace process, and accusing the FFC of seeking to postpone the peace process.

He stressed that the Popular Congress Party is not against the abolition or cleansing of institutions and affiliates of the former regime, and the prosecution of people in charge of those institutions.


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