Sudanese prime minister Abdallah Hamdok unveiled the cabinet of the transitional government on Thursday, September 6. The names of 18 of the 20 members of the cabinet were announced while consultations are still on over who will be the minister of livestock and minister of infrastructure.
Four of the 18 candidates are women. Among them is Asma Mohamed Abdallah, who will be the foreign minister. A former diplomat, she was sacked when the recently ousted president Omar al-Bashir came to power in 1989 through a coup backed by Islamists. That year, Hamdok, who was then a foreign ministry official, was himself dismissed for refusing to endorse the Islamists.
The cabinet includes other ministers who had an antagonistic relationship with al-Bashir’s regime. Omer Monis, who will be taking office as the minister of cabinet affairs, was a diplomat who quit the foreign ministry under al-Bashir after reports of genocide in Darfur.
Faisal Mohamed Saleh, who will be the minister of culture and information, is an award-winning journalist who was often arrested for exposing and opposing the human rights violations under al-Bashir. Ibrahim al-Badawi, a former World Bank economist, will be the finance minister.
Lt. gen Police al-Traiffi Idriss Daffallah, who was chosen by the police forces, was appointed as the minister of interior, and Lt. gen Jamal al-Din Omer, chosen by the army, was appointed as the defense minister.
Except for the ministers of defense and interior who were chosen by the security establishment, ministers for all other portfolios were chosen by the prime minister from a list of nominations submitted by the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF).
DFCF is the civilian opposition alliance comprising political parties and trade unions which represented the protesters who forced the removal of Omar al-Bashir from the presidency in April, and subsequently agitated against the military junta which took power after his removal.
Hamdok, whom the DFCF chose as the PM on August 15 following a power sharing agreement with the military junta, was originally scheduled to announce the names of his cabinet members on August 28. Two days later, on August 30, the 11-member Sovereignty Council, sworn in on August 21, was set to officially approve the cabinet.
However, Hamdok explained that the process was delayed by a week due to the need to arrive at a balanced cabinet which has ministers with whom Sudanese people from all regions of the country could identify with.
“We conducted extensive and in-depth consultations that accompanied the standards related to efficiency and gender,” Sudan Tribune quoted him as saying. However, despite the delay, Hamdok acknowledged “the imbalance of the current appointments”, and assured that this will be addressed while appointing the state ministers in the coming weeks.