The appointments of the state governors and relieving seven ministers are sending a strong message that re-alignment in the political scene is taking shape with potential far reaching consequences.
From the start it was a rocky, uncomfortable deal that brought the Transitional Military Council and the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) together to start the 39-month transitional period. In the background the bloody break-up of the sit-in was always there fueling suspicion. The hope was that the civilian component will assert itself and eventually have an upper hand.
However, over the past several months it became clear that FFC, being an alliance grouped mainly on the platform of defying the defunct Ingaz regime can’t escape the fate of similar alliances mired with weakness and getting riddled with divisions.
Though in theory the government is accountable to FFC, which brought it in the first place, but in several occasions the government went solo without consulting with FFC in some major issues from requesting a UN mission, to the economic policy and that trend was crowned with the relieve of seven ministers without even notifying FFC, who has been calling early on that both finance and agriculture ministers be replaced.
But more serious was the appointments of the state governors. Though the process has been initiated ten months ago, but the list announced last Wednesday took many by surprise notably the Umma Party in whose name six out of the 18 governors were appointed, but the party came the following day to announce that it has not been consulted in the selection and called on those appointed to turn down the offers.
The portfolio for Southern Kordofan state explains the whole exercise. FFC agreed unilaterally on only one candidate: Dr. Rudwan Kunda, whose appointment as a Christian will be sending a positive message to the troubled state and outside world, but instead Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok picked Dr. Hamid Elbashir, a UN staffer, known to be associated with the Umma Party and more important accepted by the military, who see Southern Korodfan as a battle ground state facing the rebel group of SPLM-Alhilu.
It will not be a surprise to see the call of the Umma Party go un-headed. Sudan has a track record of the state ability to lure some party members and weaken their mother organization. In this case it is not only the Umma Party, but FFC as a whole will be more weakened because in the end it is the prime minister’s pick, supported by the military component in the government, who were giving him a lending hand to replace the police leadership in addition to some leaks that they don’t mind relieving the interior minister.
To be fair Hamdok has been speaking all along that Sudan’s experience is unique in terms of having both the military and civilian working hand in hand. Hardly that assessment is shared by many of his colleagues at FFC.
With increasing complaints even from within FFC that it is getting weaker, less effective and suffering from divisions, the government led by Hamdok finds it more conducive to go its own as it did in amending the budget along the very disputed lines by FFC, which puts it on path to ally with the military, who in the end are having solid power that can easily be deployed and with them usually rebel groups make deals.
However, this potential grouping that includes the civilian government, the military and segments of the rebel groups have to face up to two challenges: the youth who have demonstrated their street power twice on June 30th last year that helped redress the balance versus the military and the other one on the anniversary of that march last month, which called on the government to take more measures to secure the future of the uprising. Despite their strength and somehow ad hoc organization through the resistance committees, yet it remains an elusive factor that is hard to reckon to.
The other factor is external led by the United States, who does not want to see any future role for the military, who have to honor their commitment and hand over the supreme council presidency to a civilian in the last 18 months of the transitional period.
Along these sensitive and conflicting waves domestically and from abroad the government has to maneuver its way looking for a more solid political base.
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