Is the Prime Minister Increasing or Reducing Tensions in Sudan?

Sudan’s instability has expanded for ages and remains one of the unresolved conflict beds in Africa. For many Sudanese, seeking refuge in other countries has become the next best alternative, but for some who are still staying in Sudan, protesting seems to be another option. Recently, some protesters took to the streets in response to the “betrayal” of the Prime Minister. Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was detained for several weeks after a military coup on the 25th of October, 2021. His deal to return to power, signed with the army chief Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, has left millions of Sudanese suspicious. He claims he struck the deal to end a bloody standoff in the streets, but his claims are difficult to believe as dozens of protesting Sudanese have lost their lives during anti-coup protests since his ousting.

The house arrest, which lasted barely four weeks, seemed to have been brief and irrelevant since Hamdok was reinstated into office on Sunday. As a promise for his return to power, he threatened to derail Sudan’s fragile transition to democracy, Human Rights Watch reported. This was done at a televised ceremony during which both men signed a 14-point agreement affirming it was an important step toward the nation’s peace. Mr. Hamdok said “We must put an end to the bloodshed,”  referring to the protesters killed by the security forces in tumultuous anti-coup protests that swept the capital, Khartoum, and other Sudanese cities in recent weeks.

This supposedly progressive action has come under criticism as some Sudanese, in their last of trust for the government, insist the regime has been unfair militarily for 52 years of its 60-year history. Critics believe that the signing of this document is likely to severely hamper efforts to move the nation toward democracy. As expected in such situations, protesters stormed the building during the time of the signing and were met with tear gas and live bullets from the police.

Magdi el-Gizouli of the Rift Valley Institute, a research body in East Africa, said “Hamdok preferred to become the secretary of a dictator over a symbol of an emancipatory movement — Whoever marketed this as realpolitik underestimated the depth of the desire for change, and a new future, among the new generation in Sudan.”

Several political parties have voiced their discontentment with the agreement. For example, the Umma Party, Sudan’s biggest, rejected the deal before it had even been signed, as did the Forces of Freedom and Change, a civilian coalition that shared power with the military until the coup.

The instability and road to peace in Sudan seems to be long and full of uncertainty. For many, hope is lost in the government. Given the distrust and unwillingness of the people to accept the policies of the present government, it would be a more strategic course of action if the government could change some of its personnel. Younger, more educated Sudanese could be allowed to manage the affairs of the country after plebiscites have been conducted.


Sarah Namondo