Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has announced a Cabinet reshuffle to add rebel ministers as part of a peace deal that transitional authorities struck with a rebel alliance last year.
On Monday February 8, 2021, Hamdok announced his new Cabinet, which includes ministers from the Sudan Revolutionary Front, an alliance of armed groups, in a televised news conference in the capital, Khartoum.
The peace deal was signed in October in Juba after months of negotiations and gave rebels Cabinet positions and 75 legislative seats in a transitional parliament.
Mariam al-Mahdi, deputy chief of the main opposition Umma Party and daughter of Sadiq al-Mahdi, Sudan’s last democratically elected prime minister, was named foreign minister.
Gibril Ibrahim was appointed to lead the Finance Ministry. He is the leader of the Justice and Equality Movement, which is part of the Sudan Revolutionary Front.
The prime minister kept Nasredeen Abdulbari as justice minister and Yasser Abbas as irrigation minister. The military also kept Maj. Gen. Yassin Ibrahim Yassin as defense minister.
Hamdok did not name an education minister to replace outgoing Mohamed el-Tom. He said consultations are ongoing. The new 25-minister Cabinet has four women.
Hamdok dissolved his old Cabinet on Sunday in an expected move that came after Sudan’s ruling Sovereign Council appointed three representatives of the Sudan Revolutionary Front as new members.
Those members are Alhadi Idris Yehia, a leader of the Sudan Liberation Movement; Malik Agar, head of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North faction in the Blue Nile state, and Al-Taher Abu Bakr Hagar, president of Sudan Liberation Forces. The three groups are members of the Sudan Revolutionary Front.
Sudan is on a fragile path to democracy after a popular uprising led the military to overthrow longtime President Omar al-Bashir in April 2019. A transitional military-civilian government is now in power, trying to end decades-long rebellions in various parts of the country.
The three rebel leaders joined the other 11 members of the ruling Sovereign Council, formed in 2019 following a power-sharing agreement between military commanders and civilian protesters who spearheaded the monthslong uprising that led to al-Bashir’s ouster.
Reaching a negotiated settlement with rebels in Sudan’s far-flung provinces was a crucial goal for the transitional government. The deal was hailed as a step toward reviving Sudan’s battered economy and rejoining the international community after years of isolation.
But the government failed to reach similar peace pacts with two other key armed factions, including Sudan’s largest single rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Movement-North led by Abdel-Aziz al-Hilu, and the Sudan Liberation Movement-Army, which is led by Abdel-Wahid Nour.