Cyprus Mail

Sudan’s military leader freezes unions to curb Islamists’ influence

file photo: protest against prospect of military rule in khartoum
Last week, protests took place in several parts of Khartoum and other cities against the prospect of military rule October 21, 2021. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/File Photo

Sudan’s military leader issued decrees on Monday to freeze the activities of trade unions, control their finances and take over their leadership, according to a statement by the ruling sovereign council he heads.

The move would sideline former ruling Islamists after their resurgence in the civil service, in the aftermath of the 2021 military takeover, and the re-establishment of unions they had dominated.

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan ordered the formation of a committee to review and take control of the finances of the unions inside Sudan and abroad.

The committee would also form steering committees for the unions until their general assemblies were held.

The military takeover halted Sudan’s transition to democracy following the overthrow of Omar al-Bashir in 2019, and plunged an economy already in crisis further into turmoil.

In the years since Bashir was toppled several professions, such as journalists and lawyers, have begun the process of rebuilding their unions. Since the coup, Islamists have also moved to reconstitute unions they had controlled that were dissolved under the transitional government.

Burhan’s orders on Monday seems to be an attempt to curb the Islamists’ influence, making sure they do not attempt a return to power. The military says it will give up power when a government is in place.

Burhan issued this month a stern warning to Islamists and other political factions against any interference in the military, amid talks with civilian parties to form a non-partisan government.

Military leaders and the parties they shared power with before the coup say talks are ongoing towards a new political settlement to end the deadlock that has gripped the country since October 2021.

In a speech on Sunday, Burhan’s deputy General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo leader of the powerful Rapid Support Forces expressed his full support for an agreement.

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