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Sudan experienced a military coup in October 2021 where Commander-In-Chief of the Sudanese Armed Forces, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, led security forces on widespread arrests of anti-coup protesters and several senior government figures. As a result, the security forces took control of the government and deposed Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok. The widely criticized coup garnered global attention, specifically from the African Union (AU), the United States, and the World Bank. As a result, they all decided to suspend aid to Sudan until the government restored order.
Despite Minister Hamdok receiving support from the West and returning to his position following the military coup, he has stepped down as Minister in a decision that does not come as a shock. Minister Hamdok was reinstated in November 2021 and proceeded to sign an unpopular agreement that meant he would share power with Commander-In-Chief and coup leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan. Members of the ousted civilian coalition refused to acknowledge the new deal. However, Minister Hamdok maintained that he had no choice but to agree in a bid to prevent any further bloodshed. The agreement consisted of a cabinet of technocrats (a group of technically qualified experts) who would establish a constitutional conference until the elections in July 2023. The deal, however, was received well by Western powers, with Ned Price, Spokesperson of the US Secretary of State, stating that Hamdok’s reinstation was an ‘important first step’ towards restoring peace in Sudan and international relationships.
General al-Burhan’s want to reinstate the intelligence service and his refusal to let him appoint members of his cabinet is what fueled Hamdok’s resignation. His departure hands the power over to the military. It is believed that with Hamdok officially out of office, the military may solicit a new civilian to be the face in an attempt to reclaim the foreign aid disbursed after the coup happened. However, his resignation also highlights how the military failed to leverage international support and recognition and has fueled talks of further protests.
Emmanuel Igunza stated in an analysis for BBC News that, “The resignation of PM Abdalla Hamdok is a big blow to the military leaders who thought an agreement with Mr. Hamdok would appease protestors and legitimize their stay in power.” He further says that Sudan’s current circumstances could unfortunately likely lead the country back to the authoritarian style of leadership they had just left behind. “And there’s also the risk that the country could go back to being a pariah state with the likes of the US already indicating that they could sanction those impeding a return to civilian rule,” he adds.
When the coup occurred, Sudan’s impending doom was apparent. Months later, the country’s economy and overall state of wellbeing hang in the balance following Minister Hamdok’s resignation. The situation is most likely to proceed in a manner that negatively affects Sudanese citizens’ lives.