Uncovering key details: Reasons Behind Postponing the Formation of a New Government in Sudan

Abdalla Hamdok, Reuters

By Abdul Baqi Al-Dhafer — Khartoum

3/9/2019

Al Jazeera received key information detailing the reasons behind the postponement of the formation of a transitional government in Sudan, and the consensus reached so far between both the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) and the Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok regarding the selection of candidates for the new government.

Three weeks ago, in Addis Ababa, Omar Qamar al-Din visited his old friend Abdalla Hamdok. And while the two reminisced about the good memories they shared in the past, uncertainties about the imminent future were left hanging in the air.

At that time, Hamdok was the frontrunner candidate for the position of Prime Minister, which he succeeded in filling shortly after. Qamar al-Din was a potential candidate for a position at the Foreign Ministry. However, too much water has passed under the bridge and he was eliminated from candidacy.

A few days ago, an extended committee of the FFC organized a meeting where they presented a list of 71 candidates for 18 ministerial positions, proposed by the five-member Candidacy Committee. After reviewing the list, the committee ended up selecting 65 candidates and eliminating six others, including one that had issues with the validity of their university degree.

Faisal Mohammed Saleh, Aljazeera

Al-Sanhouri has significantly contributed to the drafting of the Constitutional Declaration that outlined a 39-month transitional period.

Security Checks and Outcomes

Once the 65-candidate list was delivered to the Prime Minister, a copy of that list was also submitted to the Sovereignty Council to undergo a security check by the Security Forces.

Despite the attempts that were carried out to hide the results of these security checks, leaks confirm that the authorities have expressed reservations about a few of the candidates. A clearance report was then delivered to the Prime Minister for his reference.

In view of things, the streets in Sudan erupted with protests against the nominations of Abbas Madani and al-Sanhouri on the grounds that the two candidates were in involved in the negotiation process.

According to a reliable source on the FFC, an agreement was reached regarding the elimination of these two candidates. Similarly, two other candidates for the Ministry of Religious Affairs were taken off the list, and two candidates, who were accused of being supporters of the former regime, have stepped down from candidacy.

Asma Mohammed Abdullah, EPA

The same accusation was being made against Ambassador Omar Siddiq, who was replaced by Asma Mohammed Abdullah, a former retired ambassador. These procedures are to be implemented during the FFC meeting scheduled this evening.

Additional Candidates

Once the list was submitted to the Prime Minister, it was double-checked by a small committee headed by Hamdok himself along with a number of his allies.

The committee reviewed the names of ministries and of ministers and concluded that there was little female representation in ministry positions. This was an issue that has been raised in light of the Prime Minister’s commitment to empowering women in the new government.

Hamdok then held a meeting with the coordination office at the FFC, a representative body of the coalition’s executive wing, and informed the members of the pressing need for additional candidates for the Ministry of Industry and for more female representation.

An agreement was reached following the Prime Minister’s proposal to add five names to the list of the Council of Ministers for the purpose of achieving an adequate female representation. The list also aims to be geographically inclusive as it became clear that it lacks representation from eastern Sudan and the new south, including South Kordofan and South Blue Nile.

Hamdok’s five-member committee included Asma Mohammed Abdullah at the Foreign Ministry, Issa Othman Sharif at the Ministry of Agriculture, Hashem Sheikh Zahir at Infrastructure, and Omar Jama at the federal government.

This list was revised and amended at a meeting attended by the Candidacy Committee. During the meeting, reservations about the nomination of a young woman, who recently graduated from university, were voiced out. Her lack of experience was not the only reason for skepticism, as it was revealed that Hamdok submitted her name to represent the South Blue Nile, although she is a native of South Kordofan. Similarly, a candidate nominated for a position at the Federal Government has also received reservations about his candidacy because he was considered part of the military government which was overthrown by a popular uprising in 1985.

A Selected Few

According to a reliable source, a list of names has been agreed upon by the Prime Minister and the FFC, despite these last-minute changes.

The current list of candidates is as follows: Omar Manis at the Council of Ministers, Asma Mohammed Abdullah at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Faisal Mohammed Saleh at the Ministry of Culture and Information , Mohammed Abdul Salam Al-Azirik at the Ministry of Justice, Mohammed Al-Amin al-Tom at the Ministry of Education, Ibrahim Badawi at the Ministry of Finance, and Akram al-Tom at the Ministry of Health.

It was also agreed upon that the position of Minister of Higher Education would be assigned to Saghirun instead of the Ministry of Tourism, the Minister of Labor to Ali Lina al-Sheikh Mahjoub, and the Minister of Youth and Sports to Walaa al-Bushi.

Although discussions over ministerial nominations is still ongoing in Khartoum, sources close to the Prime Minister told Al Jazeera that he is not in a hurry. His goal is to build a competent, politically independent and inclusive government that represents all of Sudan.

According to the same source, the Prime Minister is determined to assign a senior ministerial position in addition to that of the Foreign Ministry, to a woman, which marks a historic move towards female empowerment.

Source: Aljazeera.net (Original Content -Arabic)

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