Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok reshuffles government

Hamdok appoints high-profile politicians and former rebels to Cabinet

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on Monday reshuffled his government, appointing a veteran Darfur rebel leader to the key finance post and the daughter of a former prime minister as foreign minister.

The new, 25-member cabinet included six other representatives of rebel groups that signed a peace deal with the government in October.

Last week, three rebel representatives were given seats on the Sovereign Council, a collective presidency led by Gen Abdel Fattah Al Burhan. The council now has 14 members.

Jibril Ibrahim, the new finance minister, is leader of the Justice and Equality Movement that fought government troops in the vast western Darfur region in an insurgency in the early 2000s.

Mr Ibrahim became the leader of the movement when his brother was killed in an air strike.

The UN says 300,000 people were killed and 2.5 million made homeless in the Darfur conflict.

Mariam Al Mahdi was named foreign minister in the new government.

Ms Al Mahdi's father is two-time prime minister Sadeq Al Mahdi, who died last year from Covid-19 complications.

Both father and daughter were key opposition leaders against dictator Omar Al Bashir, who was removed from power by his generals in April 2019 after months of street protests against his 29-year rule.

Several members of the first Cabinet retained their jobs, including the ministers of justice and water resources.

An education minister has yet to be named in the new administration, which replaced a caretaker government of technocrats who have run the country since last summer.

Mr Hamdok is a career UN economist who became prime minister in August 2019 under a power-sharing deal reached between the country’s top generals and a pro-democracy movement that orchestrated the protests against Al Bashir.

The deal was applicable for a 39-month transitional period on which the clock was reset after the peace deal was reached in October with the rebel groups in the west and south.

The announcement of the new government came amid mounting economic woes that led to street protests in recent days over surging prices and acute shortages.

The local currency has also been losing substantial ground to the US dollar, further pushing up prices and the cost of services.