Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan Defies Transitional Process and Civilian Wishes with Dangerous Statement
Darfur Women Action Group (DWAG) is extremely concerned about the recently escalated political tension between the governing parties in Sudan.
Triggered by a failed coup attempt by the armed forces on September 21, Sudan has since been experiencing an escalating crisis between the civilian and military counterparts of the transitional government, putting society at large in danger. To make matters worse, General El Burhan has used contradicting statements, undermining the effort to resolve the tension.
Last week, Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, the head of Sudan’s Sovereignty Council, has displayed hypocrisy by committing toward the transitional process in diplomatic settings while expressing intent to dissolve the transitional government in militaristic settings. The calls stand amid increasing tensions between civilians and the military in the country weeks after a failed coup d’etat in late September.
On October 18th, El Burhan led a briefing with the British Ambassador to Sudan, Giles Lever, and the British Government’s Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, Robert Fairweather, in the presence of the British Military Attaché. In this meeting, he affirmed his keenness in working with multiple components of the government to successfully transition the country towards free and fair elections. This statement is contrary to a statement uttered a little under a week ago in which he expressed desire to dissolve the transitional government.
On October 12th, El Burhan addressed the Khartoum North Military District and rejected the idea of continuing the military’s political partnership with the civilians through its transitional period. El Burhan boldly called for the dissolution of the Sudanese interim government led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. El Burhan accused the civilian political forces of intentionally excluding the military component from the transitional scene through manipulating public opinion and instigating problems with the armed forces. The military faction of the interim government has suspended all dialogue with the Council of Ministers and refuses to come back to the table and defuse the situation.
El Burhan stressed that the formation of a Legislative Council representing all the people, “except for those affiliated with the former Al Bashir regime,” must be expedited, underlining the fundamental necessity for assembling a new cabinet with broader participation in order to truly overcome the current legislative crisis. However, this statement proves ironic, as El Burhan was formerly associated with al Bashir and had a leading role in committing the genocide in Darfur. Thus, during the time that the military was in charge of dismantling the former regime, through the Empowerment Removal Committee, the military — in particular, El Burhan — possessed a vested interest in maintaining the status quo in order to prevent investigations against the military-security apparatus and continued legitimizing the armed forces despite their involvement in the genocide. For this reason, Darfur Women in Action (DWAG) remains vigilant and wishes to draw the attention of the international community to the volatile situation in Sudan. The people of Sudan have suffered for far too long and have held high hope on the recent change in government in Sudan. This transition represents a window of opportunity for peace and stability in Sudan and it must not be sabotaged by the former remgimes’s affiliates
DWAG condemns these counterproductive statements and calls on both the Sovereignty Council and the council of ministers of the Transitional Government to further exercise restraint and be accountable to the aspiration of the people of Sudan. DWAG demands that the interim government in its entirety remain committed to the agreed-upon transitional process and hand over power to the civilian components as it was stipulated in the interim constitution. We further call on the US government and the member states of the UNSC to press the Sudanese leaders to follow through on their commitment and must not descend the country to crises again.. DWAG stands solidly with civilian calls for democracy.