FFC finally agree on nominees for Sudan’s Sovereign Council

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FFC delegates at the meeting with the TMC on the political and constitutional documents on 16 July 2019 (AFP Photo)
August 20, 2019 (KHARTOUM) – The Leadership Council of the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) and its nomination committee, in a meeting that ended on Tuesday morning, finally agreed on five nominees to represent them at the Sovereign Council.

The meeting which started at 01:00 PM on Monday witnessed a heated debate between the FFC’s groups over the nomination of some opposition members in the Sovereign Council.

Mariam al-Mahdi in a short statement extended to Sudan Tribune in the early hours of Tuesday at about 03:00 AM (local time) said the five nominees of the FFC are Aisha Musa, Hassan Sheikh Idriss, Mohamed al-Faki Suleiman, Siddiq Tawer and Mohamed Hassan al-Ta’aishi.

The return of al-Ta’aishi who had been previously rejected by some opposition forces was seen as the only solution to the difference over an independent nominee to represent Darfur region.

The selection of the lawyer Taha Osman who is a member of the Sudanese Communist Party was largely contested by professional groups which called for an independent personality to represent the western Sudan region.

The Sudanese Professional Association (SPA) which had the difficult task to pick a representative of Darfur has indicated they did not take part in Taha’s selection after failing to find an independent national figure from the divided region.

Before agreeing on al-Ta’aish, the meeting discussed the nomination of Mohamed Tahir Tarjouk, a former prosecutor, but reservations also emerged against him.

It should be noted that Taha on Sunday declined the nomination after his rejection faced by the professional groups.

Crowds of FFC youths, opposed to the political nominations, rallied outside the premises of the National Umma Party in Omdurman, chanting slogans condemning the selection of Baath Party leading member Siddiq Tawer to represent the Nuba Mountains as one of the FFC nominees for the Sovereign Council.

Sudan Tribune learned that the FFC’s leadership meeting too was very tense as divergences emerged over Tawer’s nomination. It was supported by the bloc of the National Consensus Forces ’NCF) except the Communist Party, and opposed by the Sudan Call Bloc led by Sadiq al-Mahdi.

The chairman of the Transitional Military Council ’TMC) Abdel Fattah al-Burhan is expected to announce on Tuesday the formation of the Sovereign Council and the appointment of Abdallah Hamdok as prime minister. Also, the military council will be dissolved after the swearing-in ceremony.

On the other hand, Hamdok will begin consultations to form his government based on the nominations made by FFC committees.

Hamdok’s mission seemingly would be full of pitfalls after the stormy disputes over the nomination of the FFC candidates for the Sovereign Council, which revealed a divergence in the interpretation of the principle of non-participation of political forces in the executive organs during the transitional period.

During a heated debate between youth and FFC leading members over the non-participation in executive posts, it appeared that there is a big gap in how the opposition leaders perceive the non-political participation in the executive organs.

In her discussion with the youth, the deputy leader of the National Umma Party (NUP) Mariam al-Sadiq al-Mahdi reaffirmed the need to abide by the principle of non-quotas in the selection of members of the collective presidency.

While Mohamed Diaa al-Din, a leading member of the Ba’ath Party and representative of the National Consensus Force (NCF), said that the principle of non-participation is not absolute but relative.

“A politician may be chosen for the Sovereign Council or any executive post when the required qualification conditions are met,” he asserted.

Dia went further to accuse both the NUP and the Communist Party of adopting the line of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front against the nomination of Siddiq Tawer. Also, he accused of racist the youth who contested the selection of his comrade Tawer.

The crowd included some youth from the Nuba Mountains who came to express their rejection of Tawer’s nomination saying he does not represent their vision for Sudan. Some described them as sympathizers of the SPLM-N.

The TMC spokesperson, Shams al-Din al-Kabbashi, said Monday that the FFC had withdrawn some of its nominees to the Sovereign Council, and requested a 48-hour deadline to complete the list.

On Sunday, the joint meeting between the TMC and the FFC chose Raja Nicola as the 11th member. She was chosen as a representative of the Coptic community and Sudanese Christians in general.

The Sovereignty Council is composed of 11 members, five civilians nominated by the FFC, five militaries nominated by the junta, and another civilian member agreed by both parties.