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Sudan VP to take over from Bashir as military unveils transitional arrangement

Zweiri said the SPA which has organised protests in the country seeking the removal of Bashir’s junta was keen on reaching a reasonable settlement to the stalemate to forestall violence/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 11 – Sudan’s First Vice President Lt Gen Awad Ibn Auf has been named the head of the country’s transitional government following the ouster of President Omar al Bashir after months of protests.

Reports of Auf’s appointment were announced on Thursday by Al Arabiya, a Saudi-owned pan-Arab television network.

The announcement by the military came amid reports of two factions pulling in different directions as the Sudan Professional Association (SPA) which has been leading the protests that erupted last December demanded the handover of power to a civilian authority.

Dr Mahjoob Zweiri, an Associate Professor in Contemporary History and Politics of the Middle East and the Head of Humanities Department at Qatar University, had told Al Jazeera TV a delay in naming a transitional government was as result of insistence for handover of power to a civilian authority.

“It’s obvious they need a civilian government, military is not allowed to run the show anymore because basically they’re part of the problem in the past,” Zweiri said.

“If people ask them (military) to help it doesn’t mean that they have to hijack the process and that was a clear message. To me this is the reason behind the delay to announce a statement,” he added.

Zweiri said the SPA which has organised protests in the country seeking the removal of Bashir’s junta was keen on reaching a reasonable settlement to the stalemate to forestall violence.

“There’s serious pressure on the military to announce something reasonable and acceptable avoiding the country of serial violence. According to what we’re hearing from Khartoum it seems there’s no one ready to accept the military to run the show even in the transition time.”

The association comprising doctors, academia and working class Sudanese is believed to enjoy backing from the second line of military, mainly middle class.

According to Zweiri a back-and-forth between two military formations could further delay a transition, or at least dampen homes for the handover of power to a civilian authority.

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“We’re hearing that we’ve two levels within the military establishment – the first line and the second line. It seems that the second line is currently running the show and I think SPA as a middle class group can meet and work together with this faction during transition,” he told Al Jazeera television network.

The outgoing 75-year-old Sudanese leader had in February sent an envoy to Nairobi as pressure mounted for him to quit office after nearly three decades of what human rights organisation have described as an oppressive regime.

Receiving a message from Bashir’s special envoy Osman Mohammed Yousif on February 5 President Uhuru Kenyatta said he was “happy to know that Sudan is handling matters well and that the situation in the country is under control.”

“Kenya will continue to support Sudan as it manages its internal affairs, because the sovereignty of all IGAD member states is something of great importance to us. As a member of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Sudan is a pillar of stability in the region,” he added.

Protesters seeking Bashir’s removal from office had cited skyrocketing food prices amid heightened public anger over the high cost of living following the increase in bread price.

Reuters reported a fresh wave of violence in Khartoum early February with the police firing tear gas to disperse protesters that had flooded the streets to denounce the death of a teacher in detention.

Ahmed al-Kheir, 36, a member of the SPA allegedly died while in police custody reigniting public anger and calls for Bashir, who is facing a case on crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court, to resign.

Bashir’s government has in recent months acknowledged concerns by protesters as valid.

Then Prime Minister Moataz Moussa was in February quoted by Reuters as saying: “There are legitimate demands and demands that must be expressed. There are problems and we are working on solving them.”

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Moussa who had been appointed in September 2018 was dismissed in February under unclear circumstances.


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