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Hamdok’s initiative: bypassing the FFC in Sudan?

After noting that the divisions within the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) coalition are threatening the transitional period, Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok announced an initiative during a press conference last week . Hamdok’s initiative is viewed by some as a way of sedating the public, while others believe it can work as a rescue mechanism that can be implemented on the ground.

ATaghyeer: Khartoum: Ala’a Musa

Hamdok’s Initiative

Observers believe that Hamdok’s initiative might bring about a new transition. They also believe this new transition will find internal opposition – whether invisible or covert –attempting to nip said transition in the bud, with promises of failure more warranted than success in said endeavor.

Noureddine Babiker, spokesperson for the Sudanese congress, denied legitimacy to the circulating talks regarding Hamdok’s disappointment with the Forces of Freedom and Change coalition, saying that he doesn’t “believe this is what the Prime Minister meant during the initiative’s announcement.”

The leader of the Central Council for Freedom and Change, Jamal Idris al-Kinein, agrees with Noureddine, saying that “Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok did not lose hope in the FFC, but needed the incubator unit to be strong to support policies.”

He pointed out that the policies implemented by the government played a role in the country’s shortcomings, as was reflected by the government’s and the political incubator’s performances.

A member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, Siddiq Youssef, however, begged to differ.

Siddiq told AlTaghyeer that there is a new alignment that has gone beyond the Forces of Freedom and Change, one that has become accustomed to watching the revolutionaries drop dead during demonstrations nonchalantly, forgoing any demands for justice or retribution.

Differing with that also is the opinion held by the Political Secretary of the Justice and Equality Movement – the Dabajo wing – Nahar Othman Nahar.

The secretary believes that the talk about the “historical bloc” has its facets, and could be intended as reform within the freedom and change.

In reference to said bloc, Nahar told AlTaghyeer that there were leaks to some of Hamdok’s meetings in which he talked about a historical bloc inclusive of all political forces with representation in parliament, except for the National Congress.

“The historical bloc does not have a clear methodology” he said.

 He wondered if Hamdok’s “incubator” refers to a bloc containing the reformed freedom and change coalition, the Communist Party, a Second Professionals Association, and the 9+1 group.

“This is contingent on knowing what is meant by the historical mass because its definition does not exist.”

The political analyst, Ahmed Omar, believes that the prime minister’s initiative “pours fuel on the fire of disparity”, pointing out that it establishes what is known as the transitional bloc, which is a third bloc to be formed after the planned absorption of new, yet to be announced forces into freedom and change coalition and the parties to the peace process.

Omar explained to AlTaghyeer that Hamdok’s prior meetings with parties associated – through mutually shared political vision – with the former regime works as a barometer test designed to test their eligibility for being introduced into the political incubator, or part of the legislative apparatus to ensure the legal and constitutional establishment of the post-transition is inclusive of the political spectrum in the broadest sense.

The journalist and political analyst, Maher Abu al-Joukh, also believes that Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok did not lose hope in freedom and change coalition, nor does he wish to replace it with another political incubator, as its presence is stipulated in the constitutional document, and in it Hamdok finds a partner for the transitional phase.

Abu al-Joukh told AlTaghyeer that the problem with the ruling coalition is that the differences within it have ravaged and fragmented it, leaving it in a contested fission stage, and thereby producing a group that controls the Central Council, and another opposing it.

Abu al-Joukh explained that Hamdok’s talk came after discovering that the FFC coalition did not have a working program for state-management, and – according to him – giving Hamdok the short end of the stick, who has now found himself dealing with a disjointed coalition that now had a political role to occupy.

“But the vacuum created by freedom and change made him move to fill that void, because the unification of the revolution’s forces will be reflected in his government,” he added.

Freedom and Change Controversies

Disagreements within Freedom and Change began last April when the National Umma Party announced it was freezing its activities within the coalition.

Last November, another crack formed within the same coalition with the withdrawal of the Communist Party.

In May, the matter became even more complicated, when a technical committee representing the constituent entities of Freedom and Change withdrew confidence from the Central Council for Freedom and Change and demanded the replacement of the civilian members of the Sovereignty Council.

In the same month, 20 civil political entities agreed to restructure freedom and change and to strengthen the civilian component of the Sovereignty Council.

The matter did not stop there, as the parties to the coalition began flinging accusations towards each other over the past period.

The spokesman for the Federal Assembly, Jaafar Hassan, accused leaders affiliated with freedom and change of rapprochement with the former regime and putting self-interests ahead of patriotism.

Before that, a member of the Sovereignty Council, Aisha Musa al-Saeed, announced her resignation from the Sovereignty Council in protest of what she described as the marginalization of civilians inside the council.

Aisha Musa not only resigned, but accused leaders within Freedom and Change of dealing with hidden bodies, conspiring to run the state away from the eyes of civilians and the government.

Having Solutions

The official spokesman for the Sudanese Congress announced that there are solutions to the differences within the freedom and change; the largest political, professional, and social alliance since the establishment of the Sudanese state.

Babiker said that this alliance needs great work in order to reach a state of consensus.

“The positive thing is that all parties included in the freedom and change coalition agree on the need for reform to the political incubator. This reform must affect structures, regulations, programs and policies, and the need to expand freedom and change,” he said.

For his part, Jamal al-Kinin considered the crisis within the ruling coalition as a transient matter that can be overcome.

He attributed the differences to the circumstances that were the result of a conflict within the framework of any revolution and change.

“The crisis is not about the freedom and change coalition, and it is not fair to say that coalition is dying, on the contrary, it can regain its unity,” al-Kinin added.

“We see a glimmer of hope in the restoration of freedom and change for its role in correcting the course of the transition, starting with the economic file.”

Othman Nahar, however, considered that the weakness of the FFC led to the delay of the Legislative Council, and said that it did not press for the formation of the “15” commissions mentioned in the constitutional document, declaring that “now, more than two years after the formation of the transitional authority structures, our country still faces the same crises.”

Abu al-Joukh agrees with Nahar here, and says that freedom and change’s main problem lies within the dominant current’s pessimism, believing things will go the same way regardless, adding that what must be understood is that “completing the transition’s tasks without unifying the coalition itself is surrounded by risks, and in June 30th we have a good example. “

He blamed the coalition for not issuing any position on the events of Ramadan 29th and 30th, and said that the ruling coalition is the one who undertakes the popular campaign to support government institutions.

Coalition Structuring

Noureddine Babiker revealed the formation of a committee dedicated to restructuring the ruling coalition, and to control the relationship between its components and the various power-wielding bear members, and said that the restructuring mainly relied on expanding the coalition by dismantling blocs and representing all components of freedom and change individually, which helps in solving the problem of representation and ensuring the participation of the largest social base revolution in decision-making.

In turn, al-Kinin announced the expansion of the ruling coalition’s aid by including the Revolutionary Front, and said that, right now, dialogues and discussions are taking place between the Freedom and Change coalition, the Revolutionary Front, and the Umma Party, and they will bear their fruits very soon through a unification of the political incubator.

Nahar however, is of the opinion that the Freedom and Change has become contingent on three organizations: the Sudanese Congress, the Baath Party and the Federal Gathering, and that they are in control of the coalition.

Siddiq Youssef stressed that the Communist Party has reached a conviction that the freedom and change does not represent the tasks of the revolution nor the aspirations of the Sudanese people, and revealed that there is an initiative led by resistance committees and the forces of the living revolution who did not waive the rights of the martyrs and the victims of forced disappearance to create a new incubator away from the traditional parties.

Maher Abu al-Joukh explained that the reform of the FFC depends on the dominant parties in the ruling coalition reaching a conviction that the current situation has led the country to crises and it is time to change it, as they will have to bear the cost, and therefore the issue of reforming the freedom and change coalition in the future is determined by the seriousness of the dominant parties about said reform.

The official spokesman for the Sudanese Congress ruled out that the coalition was dying, stressing that the coalition was able to lead the revolutionary movement in its darkest conditions, and succeeded in bringing the revolution to the stage of overthrowing the regime.

The coalition was also able to form the transitional government and appoint state governors by consensus.

“It is true that some conflicts and differences have marred this experience, but there is no way to develop this experience and address the problems it faces in order to reach the goals of the glorious December revolution.”

He pointed out that ensuring the democratic transition in Sudan is the main entrance to this transition, and it is through the unification of the forces of change around a national program that carries Sudan over to the ports of democratic transition and stability.

However, Abu al-Joukh sees that the Freedom and Change coalition suffers from severe cracks, but the body will still exist, even if it is currently the property of political groups that exchanged seats of power among themselves.

To him however, the Freedom and Change coalition –as a stipulated partner in the constitutional document and as a second party in a political agreement – will remain in the political scene even if its components are reduced to the dominant parties alone.

But this does not mean that it will exist as a just name without popular, public, and political influence.

This will result in weakening their internal situation in the event of conflicts and disagreements with any of the military components or the peace bloc, and this in turn will make the Freedom and Change alliance the weakest side in the transitional period’s triangle of partners.

 “IF the situation continues as it is now…,” he said.

“…but the situation will differ if the process of re-strengthening and unifying the forces of freedom and change is carried out again,’ he added.

“This will give it a popular, public, media and political impetus that is better off than where it is now, and this is what it can achieve if it positively engages with Hamdok’s initiative.”

Transient Crisis

Al-Kinein believes that “the government’s performance economy-wise confused the scene and exacerbated the crisis, which cast a shadow over the political situation.”

He noted that guaranteeing and protecting the revolution is in the unity of freedom and change, “and there is no alternative to the freedom and change except actual freedom and change.”

He stressed that Hamdok has nothing but the freedom and change, and thereby he must follow what he the coalition sees fit, and not “go his own way.”

Observers believe that there will be a change, catalyzed by the promises of the next stage, which will lead to a change of the incubator or the system.

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