21 June 2019

Sudan: Military Junta Continues to Lobby in Sudan for New Govt

Khartoum — Lt Gen Mohamed Hamdan, Deputy Chairman of the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), has called on "all sectors of society to grant the military junta a collective mandate to form a transitional government". He further said that "certain groups who impersonated RSF militiamen" during the dismantling of the Khartoum sit-in on June 3, have been arrested. The junta replaced the country's attorney-general on Thursday.

Addressing members of El Nilein Mogran Women Initiative in the Friendship Hall in Khartoum on Thursday, Hamdan, better known by his nickname Hemeti, said that the delay in the formation of a new government is caused by a lack of consensus between the junta and the Alliance for Freedom and Change (AFC).

He praised "native administration leaders, university lecturers, women, and youth" for expressing their confidence in the TMC leaders.

The militia leader pledged the formation of a government of independent technocrats who will manage the country until "free and fair elections, monitored by international observers" will be held. The transition period should be two years maximum.

He accused those demanding a long transition period of "seeking to establish a new totalitarianism". He said that the junta's entirely rejects bilateral solutions, and stressed that "the solution must include everyone without exclusion".

The military leaders will remain steadfast concerning these issues. "We shall not change our opinion, no matter how long the negotiating process takes," Hemeti emphasised.

Observers say that the junta, backed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt, is now lobbying among broad sectors of the Sudanese society to mandate the military leaders to form a government. A group of native administration leaders have reportedly authorised the TMC already.

Hemeti further acknowledged the little experience of the military in governing, and said that their working areas are limited to security issues.

He denied the junta's loyalty to the former ruling party, the National Congress Party which was headed by ousted President Omar Al Bashir. "The National Congress Party is over," he stated. "Yet, we will not hold all its elements accountable. Charges will be limited to corrupt members of the party."

Suspended

The TMC suspended negotiations with the AFC, a coalition of the Sudanese Professionals Association and progressive opposition parties, more than once. On June 4, a day after the violent dispersal of the Khartoum sit-in during which more than 100 protesters were reportedly killed, the junta announced the freezing of all negotiations and revoked all agreements with the AFC.

On Wednesday, TMC chairman Abdelfattah El Burhan, pressed by the international community, in particular the African Union, called on the AFC to return to the negotiations table "without any preconditions".

The AFC said it will only resume talks with the TMC if the junta assumes responsibility for the dismantling of the Khartoum sit-in on June 3, which resulted in more than 100 deaths and hundreds of wounded.

Fake militiamen

Hemeti also announced the arrest of a number of people accused of being involved in the violent dismantling of the sit-in in front of the army command in Khartoum on June 3.

He said that "certain groups who impersonated RSF militiamen by wearing their uniforms" are to be held responsible for the violent dispersal of protesters at the sit in in the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. He added that members of these groups have been arrested, and will be tried soon.

On June 13, TMC spokesman Lt Gen Shamseldin El Kabbashi reported that several officers were arrested for the violence used during the breakup of the sit-in. The junta has rejected calls for an international investigation.

The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) has called the violent targeting of protesters at the sit-in "a crime against humanity".

Replaced

The RSF commander also hinted to the country's acting attorney-general, El Waleed Mahmoud, and said he has been accused of delaying the trial of the men who tortured teacher Ahmed El Kheir to death in Kassala, as well as the prosecution of nine former NCP members accused of corruption.

Yet, TMC spokesman Lt Gen Shamseldin Kabbashi announced in a press conference in Khartoum on Thursday that Mahmoud was dismissed. Abdallah Ahmed was appointed as his successor.

The spokesman explained that Mahmoud and Chief Justice Abbas Babikir were invited to join the security meeting in which ways of dismantling the sit-in in front of the army command in Khartoum were discussed. "Both of them provided legal advice for the implementation of the operation," Kabbashi said.

Mahmoud however, denied discussing the subject with the TMC in a press conference last Saturday, and threatened to submit his resignation in case the military junta would continue to violate his powers. The head of the judiciary also denied his participation in the security meeting.

According to Sati El Haj, lawyer and leading member of the Alliance for Freedom and Change, "the military did not tolerate what he [Mahmoud] said on Saturday, so they fired him".

He told Radio Dabanga that the military junta does not have the competency to dismiss and appoint government staff. "The dismissal and appointment of the attorney-general is this phase has negative implications," he said.

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