Sudan’s PM Hamdok backed military takeover, says general

Deputy head of Sudan’s sovereign council, General Dagalo, tells Al Jazeera that reinstated Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was part of discussions leading to the military takeover in October.

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was deposed by the military on October 25 but reinstated as interim premier November 21 [File: Ashraf Shazly/AFP]

The deputy head of Sudan’s governing sovereign council, General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, has said that Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was aware of last month’s military takeover before it happened and was “completely agreeable” to it.

Hamdok was deposed by the military on October 25 but reinstated as interim prime minister after signing a deal on Sunday with army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan to restore the transition to civilian rule.

“What happened on October 25 was the ultimate outcome of a long process. Many discussions were made, and many initiatives proposed,” Dagalo, also known as Hemeti, told Al Jazeera in an exclusive interview released on Friday.

“The prime minister himself proposed two initiatives during the meetings. We were left with three options, the best of which was the move we took, and it was completely agreeable to the prime minister himself,” said Dagalo. “We did not make such a move on our own.”

Dagalo said the military takeover was “the best option to stop what was becoming a spiralling crisis”.

Reporting from Khartoum, Al Jazeera’s Resul Serdar said Dagalo’s claims about Hamdok were “bold” allegations since many Sudanese people have been asking whether he was part of the military takeover or had been aware it would happen.

“When I asked him, he said he didn’t know that the military coup was coming,” said Serdar, referring to a recent interview with the prime minister after he was reinstated this week.

“Now the deputy chairman says they had actually discussed it with Hamdok and he knew of the military takeover before it took place,” added Serdar.

“People were already questioning his independence. After this allegation, people will question his legitimacy even more.”

On October 25, al-Burhan dissolved the government, arrested the civilian leadership, and declared a state of emergency – drawing widespread international condemnation and triggering mass anti-coup protests.

Hamdok was placed under house arrest after the military seized power.

Al-Burhan said the military takeover was necessary to avoid “civil war”, and accused politicians of inciting protests against the armed forces.

On November 11, al-Burhan issued a decree creating a new 14-member ruling sovereign council, with himself at the head.

The coup, more than two years after a popular uprising forced the removal of longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir, derailed a transition towards democratic elections.

The 14-point deal between Hamdok and the military provided for the release of all political prisoners detained during the coup and stipulated that a 2019 constitutional declaration be the basis for a political transition, according to details read out on state television.

Following the deal, Hamdok told Al Jazeera he would form a “technocratic government” made up of qualified professionals to lead the country to elections by June 2023.

The deal was largely welcomed by the international community, but Sudanese pro-democracy activists have rejected it as an “attempt to legitimise the coup”.

They demand that the military should not be part of any future government and people have continued to protest against the military’s involvement in politics since the agreement was signed.

“Tens of thousands of people have been back to the streets, insisting on their demands,” said Serdar, who added that the formation of a new cabinet and the release of political prisoners are the two main issues yet to be resolved.

Twelve cabinet ministers also submitted their resignation to Hamdok in protest against the deal between the prime minister and the military.

At least 42 people have been killed during confrontations with security forces since the coup, as security forces have at times used live rounds to disperse pro-democracy demonstrators.

Source: Al Jazeera