Who and what has Sudan’s Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok, done so far for Sudan?

Ahmed Yasir Mustafa

Ahmed Yasir Mustafa is a 16-year-old who is passionate about Sudanese politics and has written several profiles focusing on Sudanese political leaders. In this opinion piece, he intends to educate his community and the global public on Sudan’s 15th Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok. 

In this profile piece, the concentration is on Sudan’s Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok, an appointed leader of Sudan’s transitional government. Ahmed Mustafa dissects the background of Sudan’s Prime Minister and provides his opinion on how the country of Sudan and its leaders can work collectively to bring peace and stability to the nation. 


Sudan’s 15th Prime Minister

A Brief Introduction

Sudan’s 15th Prime Minister was born on the 1st of January of 1956, (coincidentally on Sudan’s Independence Day) in Dibaibat, Kordofan. He moved to Khartoum when he was 2 years old with his family. Hamdok completed school and then went on to study at the locally acclaimed University of Khartoum (or UOK). He actually majored in the sciences and didn’t involve himself in economics or social sciences until he moved to Manchester, United Kingdom. It was there where he studied economics for three years, ultimately defending his PhD in the field. At the young age of 31, Hamdok then returned to Sudan as a senior official in the Sudanese Ministry of Finance under the government of Ahmed al Mirghani (head of state) and his PM Sadig Al Mahdi.

He worked with the newly elected government for about a year, parting ways at the end of 1987. It is still unclear whether he was released by the Ministry of Finance or if he resigned on his own terms. Later in the mid-90s, Hamdok held senior positions at Deloitte & Touche, International Labour

Organization in Zimbabwe, and the African Development Bank in Côte d’Ivoire. He also worked briefly for the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) from 2001 until 2002 as Director of Regional Integration and Trade. Hamdok was also the Regional Director for Africa and the Middle East of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance from 2003 to 2008. He then returned in 2011 to become Deputy Executive Secretary of UNECA until he resigned in 2018, although it is unclear why he made such a decision.

Hamdok making history as the first Sudanese prime minister to attend the UN general assembly in New York City

Impact on the Transitional Government

It began when a representative from the forces of freedom and change (FFC) shortlisted Hamdok alongside well known politician Omar al Degair for acting Prime Minister. Hamdok won out, and was elected as official acting Prime Minister of the transitional government of Sudan for the following 3 years. Aldegair and his political party then announced that the Sudanese Congress Party led by him will be running for the upcoming general elections set to take place in 2022; marking the end of the aforementioned transitional period. It’s important to understand that the Sudanese Constitution does not allow any member from the Ministry Cabinet or the Sovereign Council to run in the upcoming general election. Moreover, Hamdok will not be able to run for President in 2022. Hamdok plays a pivotal role as the main representative of Sudanese people in this government. Other notable persons of high-status personas within the transitional government are Mohammed Hamden Dagalo – Deputy Head of State, as well as Abdelfattah Alburhan. These individuals are widely disliked by the Sudanese public. Many believe the two conspired to authorize the violent dispersal of protesters turned massacre on June 3rd in the national military headquarters in Khartoum.

Since Hamdok was sworn in as prime minister on the 21st of August 2019, he contributed greatly to the International Diplomatic relations with the West. Germany took headlines alongside the EU, where Hamdok made a historic visit to the German capital; Berlin to discuss diplomatic relations between with German chancellor Angela Merkel. Hamdok also traveled to the EU headquarters in Brussels and made history once again as the first Sudanese Prime Minister to be invited. He also played a major role in the creation of the “Sudan Friends Conference,” that was held online and drew in huge support from the EU and other middle eastern countries. It resulted in 3.6 billion dollars of financial support for Sudan and its transitional government, as well as the establishment of many new and beneficial diplomatic relations.

But What has Hamdok done for Sudan in the Past Year?

I’d like to start by clarifying that the following is my personal opinion and that despite what opinions you as a reader may hold, I respect them, and hope you can respect and understand my own.

Though Abdalla Hamdok was a favorite to the Sudanese public, even having a chant that said “#thankyouhamdok” (translated from Arabic), his popularity has decreased among the Sudanese people due to the lack of services and minimal changes since the previous government has left. Social media has consequently been pointing its fingers at Sudan’s PM. There is still a dramatic lack of healthcare, education, electricity, bread, etc. Inflation in the country has reached its all-time high at 136%, To date, on the official currency exchange rate to the United States dollar, Sudan’s currency is also at its peak. Uncertainty in Darfur is still going on despite the fact that “achieving complete peace within the country” (translated from Arabic) was the government’s first outlined objective in the Sudanese Constitution during this transitional period. Many political activists said that due to these grievances, Hamdok is not fit for his job. I am inclined to disagree. Abdalla Hamdok is one Sudan’s most experienced and knowledgeable personalities, and is more than fit for the job. We as a Sudanese society need to understand two main points. Firstly, while hopes are high for better living, and the memory of our martyrs losing their lives for the rest of us, corruption dating longer than 30 years cannot be undone and solved within a year, or two, or even three. Though we may have high hopes and expectations, we must also face reality if our beloved country can ever move forward. The second point we need to accept is that Hamdok is not a one-man team. Each minister has to do his/ her job correctly so this government could be successful. Therefore, it is rather irrational to point fingers at someone who does not even have power of this or that certain matter.

How Sudan and Hamdok can Move Forward

In my opinion, going out to protest and to “apply pressure” on the transitional government is going to do more harm than good. Sudan’s transitional government is now approaching the Western world as the “peoples’ government.” Countries are more willing to support the government in order for Sudan and its people to profit, not for a certain political party or man in power to be the sole beneficiary. Thus, when we, as the people go out against a government that is in fact made up of the people, it’s inclined to cause civil unrest and eventually have negative repercussions on our country’s diplomatic relations. Hamdok has been working hard to get Sudan’s name off the state sponsors of terrorism list, if protests occur on a regularly basis and civil unrest rises higher than it already is, this work will be for nothing. I also believe that although the problems within Sudan are obvious, as previously mentioned, these problems have been here for over 30 years. Any expectations and hopes for our government to miraculously alleviate our economic and security issues within the country are rather unreasonable. We must be realistic and work with, rather than against, the person who seeks to help us. Abdalla Hamdok is not just a regular experienced economist, he is an example for all of the Sudanese people. His high level of respect for others, his patience, his will to work for our country and people despite his life being quite literally at risk are traits that if we don’t seek to emulate, should at least respect and appreciate in our leader. I implore you to support him and be realistic when it comes to our hopes and dreams for our beloved country. Last but certainly not least, we need to be patient. Patience is one of the important virtues we need to maintain as society. Patience is how Rwanda is now the Singapore of Africa, it is how Japan is one of the worlds most advanced countries despite the United States’ nuclear war bomb attack, and so on. Sudan will go forward by the will of our people, the will of patience and most importantly, the will of Allah.

You can find Ahmed on Instagram.

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