Sixteen political groups and armed militias signed on October 2 in Khartoum, Sudan, a new agreement called the National Consensus Charter for the Unity of Freedom and Change Forces.

The formation of this new alliance stands as separate from the country’s main civilian-led bloc, and includes, among others, the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Darfur Governor Minni Minnawi, the Justice and Equality Movement led by the current Minister of Finance Gibril Ibrahim, the Kush Liberation Movement led by Muhammad Daoud Bandak, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – North (SPLM-N) led by Ismail Jalab, and the Democratic Alliance for Social Justice led by Ali Askouri.

The new group stands as an alternative to that of the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), formed in 2019 in the aftermath of the fall of Omar al-Bashir’s regime, judged especially by Minni Minnawi and Gibril Ibrahim as dominated by the role in particular of four political formations: the Sudanese Professional Association (SPA), the Forces of National Consensus (NCF), the Call for Sudan (SC) and the Unionist Alliance (UG).

According to what Minni Minnawi said at the meeting where the new political alliance was established, the four formations that primarily dominate the FCC have systematically marginalized the other forces, frustrating their expectations and pushing them to the margins of politics. According to Minnawi, this dominance has led to an entirely unbalanced and unfair system of appointments to public office, which he calls for review.

The spokesman of the armed forces, Tahir Haja, commented positively on the outcome of the meeting on the Facebook site of the Sudanese Army, considering as positive the choice of the new group to return to the original principles of consensus and equality of the political movement that overthrew the previous regime.

No public comment has been made instead by the other signatories of the Juba peace agreement, where presumably further adhesions to the new formation could be determined.

The Sudanese political evolution is characterized in this phase by growing tensions, especially after the recent coup attempt that showed how the role of officers linked to the former Islamist regime is still consistent within the Armed Forces.

More generally, however, the civilian government authorities believe that in order to complete the democratic transition process underway, it is necessary for the Armed Forces to agree to submit to the civilian institutions of government of the country, renouncing their deep-rooted ambitions for power. This transition process, according to the Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok himself, is far from being completed, while the military do not hint at diminishing their power in any way and their evident intention to represent the central element of the country’s executive power also in the future. An equally thorny issue is that connected to the economic role of the Armed Forces, which control a vast network of industries and companies capable of generating enormous profits, and of which the civilian authorities are demanding the transfer under the control of the transitional government. The military leadership had committed last March to facilitate a transition of the control of the companies of their network, although this commitment has remained unfulfilled.

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, president of the Sovereign Council of Transition, has replied to the accusations of Prime Minister Hamdok accusing him of ingratitude for what the Armed Forces have done to guarantee the stability of the transition process, recalling how concrete is still the risk connected on one side to the forces of Islamist terrorism and on the other to those loyals of former dictator Omar al-Bashir.

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