By John Ikani
Sudan’s deposed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and the top general that ousted him a month ago signed a breakthrough deal on Sunday to reverse the military takeover.
Hamdok appeared on TV to sign a new power-sharing agreement with coup leader Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan amid continuing mass protests.
But the civilian coalition that nominated Hamdok as PM two years ago refused to acknowledge any new deal.
The pact had been struck with a gun to his head, a spokesperson told the BBC.
Recall that the 65-year-old first became the transitional PM in 2019 after protests forced out ex-dictator Omar al-Bashir.
Hamdok was toppled on October 25, less than five weeks by al-Burhan after an initial attempt to seize the government.
The 14-point deal they signed officially restores the transition to civilian rule that had been derailed by the October 25 putsch in the poverty-stricken African country.
The agreement, which comes after crisis talks involving Sudanese, UN, African and Western players, stated that Burhan’s decision “to relieve the transitional prime minister (of his duties) is cancelled”.
It said all political detainees would be freed and formally relaunched the fragile transition process towards full democracy that started after the 2019 ouster of long-time autocrat Omar al-Bashir.
Under the agreement, the reinstated Prime Minister will lead a cabinet of technocrats until elections are held. But it is unclear how much power the new civilian government will have, as it will be subject to military oversight.
Hamdok told Al Jazeera that the deal gave him complete freedom to form his government and hold elections before July 2023. It also allows the release of political prisoners.
The military has come under intense international and domestic pressure to restore the transition to democracy. The World Bank froze its aid to Sudan, and the African Union (AU) suspended the country’s membership of the bloc.
Western powers, including the US, UK and EU, have welcomed Mr Hamdok’s reinstatement and called for more political detainees to be freed.
The army entered into a fractious power-sharing arrangement with the FFC in August 2019, after long-time leader Omar al-Bashir was overthrown amid mass protests.
As part of that agreement, Gen Burhan had been due to step down as head of state, handing over to a civilian this month.
He says the army acted to prevent a civil war that was threatening to erupt because political groups had been inciting civilians against the security forces.