sudan's prime minister is reinstated after an agreement with the military. a new technocrat government is expected to take office, but as angry protests continue, will this agreement hold? how much power will the military have? this is "inside story." ♪ rob: hello, welcome to the program, i'm rob matheson. it is a deal that is being met with optimism and uncertainty.
sudan's prime minister is promising a path to democracy after being reinstated under an agreement with the military. he was ousted nearly a month ago when the army chief seized power and dissolved his cabinet. weeks of protests followed. at least 40 people died after confrontations with police. they say they want recognize any agreement with the armed forces. we will get to the guests shortly, but forced, a report. reporter: a breakthrough incidents, political crisis. nearly a month after the political takeover, sunday, military leader general and the deposed prime minister abdalla hamdok signed an agreement that allowed the way for him to be reinstated. > i was guided by a number of key principles, chiefly among them is to avoid further bloodshed. our people are prepared to sacrifice more, but everything
is precious. reporter: the agreement comes after weeks of negotiations between the size -- sides mediated by sudanese political prisoners. it called for the release of officials who were arrested the day of the takeover and in the days that followed. the agreement also lays out a plan to expand political participation in the transitional government. the general who cited political divisions as the reason for his taking power says the deal will lead to dialogue to understand those divisions. >> we have been living in crisis for a long time and by signing this declaration, we were able to establish a real foundation for a transitional period. reporter: sudan has been governed by a power-sharing agreement between the military and political coalition, known as the forces of freedom and change since august 2019, but the months leading to them recent takeover saw tensions between the sides.
both accuse each other of slow economic recovery and lack of judicial reforms. the agreement signed may have reinstated abdalla hamdok as prime minister, but it doesn't mean the end of the political crisis. since the takeover, they are having protests nearly every day with people demanding an entirely civilian government and the end of the partnership. sunday still means the military remains as a governing partner and that angers many here. authorities responded by firing tear gas and live ammunition into the air after protest. at least 40 protesters have been killed since the military took over and more than 200 injured. the forces of freedom and change, which nominated abdalla hamdok as prime minister in 2019, has distanced itself from the deal and analysts they there are questions about how much the military can be trusted. >> the last month has been a total fiasco for the military. why? they did what they did and they
had to do a 180 degree return. that does not mean the prime minister suddenly is the ruler of the land, but it means there is a momentum suddenly not in favor of the generals but in the favor of the street. as you said, we will see where this will take us because there are a number of dynamics at play here. there's the military, the street, the neighbors of the african union and the international community. reporter: for now, sudan takes another uncertainty step. al jazeera, khartoum. rob: abdalla hamdok spoke to al jazeera and explained what he hopes the new government will look like. >> the concept of the upcoming government is that it will be a technocratic government, made up of sudanese qualified professionals. about one and a half years are left out of the transitional period, therefore the upcoming government should focus on very
specific issues, chiefly the completion of the transition into democracy and the constitutional conference and holding elections. we all know elections require one full year at least. it might drag on for more than a year. i hope we can all did agree on the remaining transitional period where the government would lead the country until the schedule elections. rob: let's bring in our guests. in khartoum, we have kholood khair, managing partner at insight strategy partners. and we have in doha, waleed madibo, founder and president of sudan policy forum. this is going to be a technocrat government extensively with no
political affiliations. political prisoners have been released and investigations will be held into the killing of protesters. will that go some way to satisfy the opponents of this agreement? kholood: it doesn't look like it. the initial response was immediate and we have not seen much deviation from that. so the committees that make up the bulk of the street-level or the other association or the forces of freedom and change umbrella protector prime minister in many ways to help him make these decisions. this raises questions about to what extent the prime minister will have support from civilians going forward. rob: the original transitional
process drove it to a halt. doesn't this create some room for maneuver to move forward? waleed: i believe that the dissolution of the transitional government threatened to derail the process and the sudanese transition. it has plunged the country back into a cycle of violence. i believe that if you look at the fact that no deal has been agreed, and if we entertain the idea that the coup d'etat imperiled international aid, it
is now endangering sudan's international standing as a democracy. i don't believe that this whole issue of democratic government is going to resolve the situation, because the quagmire is of a political nature rather than technocratic nature. rob: at the signing, it was suggested this was a return to a prior constitutional agreement. can you clarify if that is the case? ahmed: i think any interpretation of what was signed yesterday will tell you this is a mere institutionalization of the coup that took place on the 26th of october. the only decision that was reversed from the long list of decisions taken on the 25th of october was the reinstatement of the prime minister.
however, we are still fully and squarely within what i would call the extraconstitutional order that was created that morning. the generals still call all the shots. they have illegally sacked the cabinet, the sovereignty council, replaced it with individuals that are to their liking. they have reappointed the prime minister, who has been under captivity for three weeks, and they have imprisoned hundreds of politicians and activists. so any suggestion that this is a return to the 24th of october is -- defies reality. this is a continuation of the two and full capitulation by the -- coup and full capitulation by the prime minister in joining the plot. rob: i want to make the point that this agreement is accused of whitewashing the military takeover. if that is what the intention is, it doesn't seem to be very effective, does it?
kholood: no, exactly. people have miscalculated the response on the streets several times, so this is part of the surprise right now. what will be telling is to what extent they will continue to miscalculate how unpopular this is, and indeed how unpopular the military is. they have been calling for full civilian governments, not just a return of hamdok. that would satisfy the overwhelming international community, not just sudanese streets. burhan and everyone around them will need to really start thinking about ways to make this much more meaningful. of course, it is not really impossible in many ways to do so. they will have to think of another way rather than this agreement which received very
little traction to get sudan out of this political crisis. rob: you mentioned before one of the significant problems that sudan is facing were of a political nature. if this is a government of technocrats, if that is essentially an attempt to remove politics from the process, or remove politics as a distraction from the process, isn't that a legitimate way of moving the country forward? waleed: if we go back and try to look through the process, burhan said he thought a coup plot equated to mutinous military process. it's obvious he was under pressure from factions in the army and his deputy to take action.
but this is increasingly strayed by demands for the military to be brought under civilian control. with this new arrangement, it is obviously civilians have been brought under military control rather than the reverse. i don't think that this whole issue of a democratic government will resolve the situation because if you look at the previous government, 70% of them , and i know them personally, were to be considered technocrats. the military had some disagreements with some political triggers, but i don't think a coup d'etat is the way to resolve the situation. the killing of 300 and
imprisoning at least 600 individuals, i think we are going back to the days of al bashir, and unless we see what kind of a deal abdalla hamdok has reached, to me it's not clear he has reached a deal that would bring the military and civilian rule. only the reverse is clear to me. rob: in previous years, we've seen a lot of pressure and statements made by foreign governments, foreign diplomats about the situation in sudan. it all seems to have gone very quiet on that front since the military takeover. why do you think that is? ahmed: i think you can't address the international community in the aggregate. i think they have been pretty vocal voices in the west, especially in the u.s., speaking out pretty loudly against the
coup. i think one of the triggers for the agreement was the introduction of the potential sanctions against the coup plotters. i think that increased the pressure significantly on the military. unfortunately, that pressure was not utilized to garner a better deal for the people of sudan. sudan sits in a tough neighborhood. i appreciate that and i appreciate that not everyone in our immediate neighborhood wants a beacon of democracy at their doorsteps. having said that, it is in the interest of every single neighbor to see sudan stable and prospering. that will not happen without heating the calls of millions on this sudanese streets who are not going home until they get what they want, that is freedom from war.
rob: back in 2019, the african union gave the council 60 days to handle the civilians and suspended sudan's mill -- membership. why are we hearing more from the african union in this? given what ahmed was saying, it's in the interest of everyone in the region to make sure stability is maintained. kholood: the african union has had to deal with a lot of coups of late. the african union as an institution is unique. there are some internal practices. what we saw after the coup was the security council of the african union. sudan of course sort of rejected by egypt and algeria, but the motion passed. what we see in the agreement is the prime minister.
in many ways, they locked the funding. it is quite a cynical move. it is more about whether they are building stability and it doesn't seem to be the case. rob: we mentioned at the start of the program, there are several political factions who say they will not support anything to do with this agreement. is there any way this agreement can actually function if the support is not given? waleed: that -- i think that is the essential question in this process. obviously, the strikes and civil
disobedience to a great extent have been successful and ground economic activity to a. halt nonetheless, it remains to be seen if the influence will change in the absence of political progress. the thing about abdalla hamdok's he has adopted a policy of containment rather than to announcement. it is more clear that he has succeeded in brokering a deal that would satisfy the youths revolting in the street. nor do i think that he has given enough time to consult his social and political deals. if the young people in the
street are saying we don't want any dialogue with the military june to -- junta, and they refused to accept political figures, we do have -- we need the interference of the african union. we need authority on development to get informed and help the sudanese people brokering a deal that is principled, that is moral and satisfies the needs and the spirit of the sudanese people. rob: if the military does continue to hold an sudan long-term, it will be responsible for all the problems sudan is facing with the economy, food shortages and so on. do you think the military is prepared to deal with situations like that?
ahmed: absolutely not. to add to what wialeed was saying, thief fundamental choice is not who should be the prime minister, it is what is the role of the military in public life? when we review the menu of available options, there's one option we have tried for the last two years, in fact the last 30 years, and that has not worked, ruled by the military. the millions on the streets have spoken and their word is clear that they don't want any role for these individuals in the future of sudan. that makes sudan ungovernable for them. politically, economically, etc., these guys are not experts or technocrats themselves so they are unable to deliver on the prosperity sudan wants, but more importantly, they have a lot of
blood on their hands not just from the last few weeks but from the cartoon -- khartoum civil massacre and the door for -- darfur atrocities. that's why people are not accepting this deal and will not accept the deal. the standoff will continue with only one possible outcome, which is their exit from political life. rob: it does look as this arrangement between the military and prime minister is here for the duration, it will not change anytime soon unless something significant happens. will it be a responsible response by the protesters and the opponents of this agreement to at least give it some time to see if it can start delivering on anything that might give some indication that things can move forward?
kholood: one has to appreciate the level of high emotions right now and the level of betrayal. first by the military and sudan revolutionary forces, the former rebels, joining politically and then yesterday by the prime minister himself. i think that will take time for people to work. there's a sense of dejection and not that this will work. beyond that, it is difficult to think how an agreement was overwhelmingly brokered by one side at the expense of the other. this would sequester the prime minister. that would bring about the kinds of things though prime minister
was trying to implement. it seems like there is an inherent contradiction in the way this agreement was brokered and what they try to implement. i think it goes beyond technicalities of the agreement and more about the ways in which decision-making is happening. the previous speaker said it is much more of the same rather than changing. rob: we heard in the speeches made at the signing of the agreement that there seemed to be a lack of acknowledgment on the part of abdalla hamdok of the actions of the military and one would imagine it is important for the military led by general burhan to get any kind of legitimacy on the military takeover itself. the two men seem to be working reasonably well together at the moment, but do you think that lack of acknowledgment, that lack of agreement with what the
military did might actually cause problems and cause this to split further down the line? waleed: i think we've seen a period of one month, that this will collapse. it is not about burhan taking over power, it is clear seeing that he's posting the presence of the islamist groups back in power. one of the respected guests was speaking about the fact that sudan is in the middle of a region ruled by autocrats, but obviously, these autocrats don't like to see the islamists back in power.
i think burhan now, in a period of one month, he has reinstated the islamist country, at least the mid-level bureaucrats, back into place. that is where there will be a disagreement between him and burhan, between abdalla hamdok and revolutionary movements. it will be resisting the idea of going back to the days of the islamists and resistance. the sudanese people have revolted to be able to decentralize the government. more important, they wanted to
get rid of the -- rob: i'm very sorry, but i'm afraid time has caught up with us and i apologize for cutting you off like that, but i do want to say thank you for all of our guests. you can see the program any time by visiting our website. for further discussion, go to facebook.com/a.j.inside story. also, you can go to the twitter handle. for me, rob matheson, and the whole team here, goodbye for now. ♪ srrrrqúúú9,x,x=÷=÷,>,ñ @
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