Sudan’s Transition to Democracy

6 April 2020


On 17 August 2019, the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and civilian leaders signed a deal as part of a planned 39-month transition to democracy. We remain cautiously optimistic that their Constitutional Declaration will lead to the formation of a government that can guarantee peace and stability throughout Sudan. However, we share widespread concerns about whether those military and political officials associated with the former regime will prove trustworthy partners – especially given their history of repression and violence.

For example, the TMC’s leader, General al-Burhan, who has been sworn in as Chair of the newly-established Sovereign Council, played a key role in the former regime’s brutal counter-insurgency campaign. People in Darfur have expressed their outrage at al- Burhan’s appointment, claiming that under his command, the Border Guards committed numerous killings and forced displacement of civilians.

The TMC’s deputy head, General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, was a mid-level commander in the Border Guards before being promoted by al-Bashir in 2013 to become commander of the Rapid Support Forces, drawn mainly from the Janjaweed militia and accused of committing ethnically-targeted violence in Darfur, the Nuba Mountains and, more recently, grave human rights violations in Khartoum.

Since assuming power in April 2019, the TMC has released political prisoners across the country and has arrested a number of high-ranking officials within al-Bashir’s former ruling party, though many fear that elite politicians remain in power behind the scenes. We wait to see how the TMC responds to COVID-19 and the political and social turmoil it brings, hoping the needs of the Sudanese people are put first.

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