Sudan: Khartoum Protest Against Low Representation of Women

Khartoum — On Sunday, a coalition of Sudanese feminist groups protested against the weak representation of women in high-level government posts.

The participants at the vigil, staged in front of the Council of Ministers in Khartoum, delivered a memo to the Prime Minister's Office. The memo stated their "categorical rejection of the underrepresentation of women and the quotas used for the selection of civilian governors". They strongly denounced "the denial of the right of the people to choose their own governors".

Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok announced the names of the new civilian governors for the 18 Sudanese states on 22 July. Two of them are women.

The protestors announced their full support for the women appointed as governors. However, the memo emphasised that the participation of women cannot be reduced to a tokenistic representation in some the seats.

The memo vigil was part of a larger protest movement called No Excuse - We Want Our Full Rights, launched in Khartoum more than a week ago.

The group demands that the government of Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok "to correct the status of women in all power structures".

The campaigners called for speeding up the formation of the Legislative Council.

In addition, they demand commitment to the participation rate of women by 40 percent. This is stipulated in the Constitutional Charter signed by the then ruling Military Council and the Forces for Freedom and Change in August last year.

Speedy formation of the Commission for Women and Gender Equality and all other commissions is also mentioned in the document.

The women say they will not stop their campaign until their demands have been met.

New governors divide opinion

The long-awaited appointment of civilian governors in Sudan elicited divergent responses in the country. Large sectors of the Sudanese society welcomed the new walis, considering the replacement of the acting military governors with civilian counterparts as a fulfilment of one of the demands of the Revolution. Meanwhile, a number of states witnessed protests against the selected state rulers.

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