Darfur Rebel Leader Set To Head Sudanese Finance Ministry
KHARTOUM: Sudan’s prime minister is expected to appoint veteran Darfur rebel group leader and Islamist Jibril Ibrahim as finance minister in a cabinet overhaul, according to a list of nominees and an official source.
Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who was appointed after a military-civilian power-sharing deal following the overthrow of Omar al-Bashir in 2019, dissolved the cabinet on Sunday and is due to announce ministerial appointments on Monday.
The reshuffle comes as Hamdok struggles to push through reforms and secure foreign financing seen as crucial to easing a deep economic crisis and bolstering Sudan’s transition to democracy.
Hamdok has led a cabinet of technocrats which has had an uneasy relationship with the military. Caretaker ministers have been in charge at seven ministries including the finance ministry since July.
The reshuffle follows a peace deal signed in October with some rebel groups. It was aimed at ending conflicts in Darfur and southern Sudan, awarded the groups posts in transitional institutions, and reset the clock on a 39-month transition to elections.
Analysts say the peace deal and long-delayed appointments to transitional bodies are important steps, though the replacement of qualified technocrats with political figures could throw up new challenges.
Ibrahim, leader of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) that fought government forces in Darfur from 2003, had previously been a member of the Islamist movement under Bashir.
A former economic advisor for JEM who became leader after his brother was killed in an airstrike, some Sudanese, as well as analysts, have questioned the expected appointment of a former Bashir ally and Islamist to a key ministry, particularly given the economic crisis.
Rebel groups have also been given the mining, livestock, social development, and federal government ministries, according to the list of nominees from Hamdok’s office seen by Reuters. Three rebel leaders were appointed last week to an expanded ruling transitional sovereign council.
The post of foreign minister is expected to go to Mariam Sadiq al-Mahdi, a leader of the popular Umma Party and daughter of former prime minister and Bashir opponent Sadiq al-Mahdi.
Khalid Omar Yousif, a leader of the Sudanese Congress Party and a prominent figure in the protests that brought down Bashir, is expected to become minister of cabinet affairs.