Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has resigned after another day of mass protests rocked the capital Khartoum and other cities.
“I decided to give back the responsibility and announce my resignation as prime minister, and give a chance to another man or woman of this noble country to … help it pass through what’s left of the transitional period to a civilian democratic country,” he said in his resignation speech late on Sunday.
Chanting “power to the people”, protesters called for a return to full civilian rule. But military forces again responded with force, leaving at least three people dead, according to the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors (CCSD).
The medical group said one of those who died was hit “violently” in his head while taking part in a protest march in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.
A second person was shot in the chest in Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman, the CCSD said, adding that dozens of protesters were also wounded.
According to reports, his decision to quit leaves the army in full control, which, they say, is another blow to Sudan’s fragile attempts at a transition to democratic rule.
Hamdok became prime minister in 2019 under a power-sharing agreement that promised multiparty elections in 2023 after a popular uprising led to the overthrow of Sudan’s long-term leader President Omar al-Bashir in 2019.
But military-civilian ties became frayed as the army refused to cede power, and on October 25, Hamdok was removed and placed under house arrest.
He was reinstated on November 21 in a deal that called for an independent technocratic cabinet under military oversight.
But the pro-democracy movement rejected that agreement and protests continued with some demonstrators saying that his reinstatement was helping to legitimize the military takeover.
Hamdok was insisting that he could save Sudan’s political transition until he called it quits on Sunday.
‘Dangerous turning point’
In his televised resignation speech, Hamdok said that his efforts to bridge the widening gap and settle disputes among the political forces have failed.
“Despite all that was done to bring about the desired and necessary agreement to fulfil our promise to the citizen of security, peace, justice and an end to bloodshed, this did not happen,” he said.
Hamdok also warned that the ongoing political deadlock could become a full-blown crisis and damage the country’s already battered economy.
“I tried as much as I possibly could to prevent our country from sliding into a disaster,” the PM said. “Now, our nation is going through a dangerous turning point that could threaten its survival unless it is urgently rectified.”
His resignation showed the military was losing their leverage to get international recognition and popular support, media reports quoted a spokesman for the opposition Sudanese Congress Party as saying.
Featured Image Caption: Hamdok’s decision to step down came six weeks after he returned to his post in a deal with the coup leaders [File: Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters]