Amgad Fareid Eltayeb
Article 44 (1) of the draft constitution prepared by the Sudanese Bar Association and adopted as a basis for the solution states that the Sovereignty Council is the head of the state and that among its duties is that it is the supreme commander of the armed forces. The political framework agreement signed yesterday also indicated that the head of state, who was referred to as having limited honorary duties, is the supreme commander of the regular forces. Article 68 of the draft constitution defines the regular forces as three: the Armed Forces, the police, and the intelligence apparatus. While the agreement specified in its fourth chapter as four, adding the Rapid Support Forces as one of these regular agencies. The agreement specified the head of state as supreme commander of the Rapid Support Forces in the clause related to it.
These provisions are used extensively by the marketers of the agreement to promote that the agreement guarantees the full civility of the state in the transition. But the reality is the opposite. Since on the ground, this agreement did not change anything.
The former Sovereignty Council, with its military and civilians, remained the supreme commander of the regular forces as a body. Furthermore, the Supreme Commander has at best symbolic authorities over the regular forces according to their laws, such as defining the political-military goal, declaring war, and declaring a state of emergency (which are tasks granted by the constitution to the head of state upon the recommendation of the Prime Minister without the need for the Armed Forces Law.)
The powers of real control over the forces rest with the Commander-in-Chief, who is Burhan in the case of the army and Hemidti in the case of the Rapid Support Forces. As per the law, the powers of this commander-in-chief include: Executing the national defence policy and other defence-related policies, assessing the military strategic position and implementing strategic tasks, supervising the implementation of plans for the strategic use and distribution of forces and assuming strategic direction to achieve these goals, supervising the preparation of the necessary plans and programs to enable the Armed Forces to perform their tasks and duties, organize and modernize armed forces to achieve the same goals, appointing the Chairman and members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
In fact, what this agreement actually guarantees is the independence of the Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces from the state apparatus, especially since, according to the prepared constitution, there is not a single governmental body, nor a single official meeting that brings together the Prime Minister – who is entrusted with the civilian executive authority – with the Commander-in-Chief of the Army or the RSF. which gives these two complete executive independence in managing the affairs of the state’s violent apparatus that they control. Even their participation in the Security and Defense Council headed by the Prime Minister – which is an administrative body and not one of the levels of government – is through their representatives and not necessarily those leaders themselves.
The biggest gainer from this agreement is the RSF, as a semi-governmental militia, got rid of all aspects of government supervision over it, whether it was from the executive authority or from the army establishment.
As for the real calamity that will face us, is when the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces is formed – which was not mentioned in the constitution or the political framework agreement, and I believe that this was done with the aim of avoiding defining its duties, tasks and powers accurately – and it is the council that will consist entirely of military personnel without any civilian presence will have the full executive control over the state-owned violence apparatus.
The naivety of the negotiators of FFC, the lack of attention to the details, and the failure to learn from previous mistakes are the perfect designation for this agreement.