Sudan opposition names five civilians to join new transitional council

Sudan opposition names five civilians to join new transitional council
The military has already named three of five members to join the new sovereign council that will rule over Sudan for the next three years.
3 min read
19 August, 2019
Sudan has been in flux since former President Omar al-Bashir was ousted in April [Getty]

Sudan's opposition coalition on Sunday named five people who will be sworn in on Monday as civilian members of the country's new sovereign council, a source within the coalition said.

A landmark power-sharing agreement was finally signed by the military and the opposition Alliance for Freedom and Change (AFC) coalition on Saturday.

Tens of thousands took to the streets in the capital Khartoum to celebrate the beginning of a new phase in Sudan's political history.

But many are skeptical that the military will be willing to complete the transition to civilian rule and end violence against civilians amid the continued presence of a feared paramilitary leader.

The agreement provides for a sovereign council, shared between six civilian members and five military representatives, as the highest power in the land, in addition to a majority-civilian legislative council and a council of ministers that will hold most executive powers.

According to the agreement, each side is allowed to choose five members, with the two sides jointly deciding upon an eleventh civilian member.

The AFC chose Aisha Mousa, Siddig Tower, Mohamed Elfaki Suleiman, Hassan Sheikh Idris and Taha Othman Ishaq for the posts, a source within the coalition told Reuters.

A spokesman for the transitional military council, in power since April, said on Saturday that it had chosen Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, his deputy General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo and Lieutenant General Yasser Al-Atta for three of the posts.

It has not yet declared who the other two military members of the council will be.

Burhan has since mid-April been the head of Sudan's ruling military council, with Dagalo serving as deputy leader.

Burhan has been seen to take a back seat despite his role, leaving his deputy to represent the public face of the military.

Better known by his nickname Himedti, Dagalo is also the commander of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary force widely held responsible for violence against protesters since the ousting of former President Omar al-Bashir.

An officialised offshoot of the Janjaweed militias accused of war crimes in Darfur, Himedti's RSF is accused of leading a brutal June raid on a protest camp in the capital Khartoum, killing more than a hundred people and allegedly raping dozens.

The military will select the head of the council for the first 21 months of the transitional period, which will last for three years and three months before elections are held, according to the agreement.

The AFC last week nominated former UN official Abdalla Hamdok to become prime minister of sit at the head of the legislative council. He will officially be appointed on Tuesday and is expected to be sworn in on Wednesday.