The last democratically appointed Sudanese prime minister, Sadeq al-Mahdi, died on Thursday from Covid-19. The leader of the Umma party was overthrown by the former leader Omar al-Bashir’s military coup in 1989.
Achieved from Covid-19, as well as several members of his family and leaders of the Ummah Party, Sadeq al-Mahdi had been transferred to the United Arab Emirates on November 3, where he had since been hospitalized. He died at the age of 85 on Thursday and will be buried on Friday in his hometown of Ummdurman.
This descendant of a large Sudanese political family had studied economics at Oxford. When he entered politics, he was twice prime minister. First in 1966, then again in 1986, after the election organized by President Siwar al-Dhahab. But three years later, he was overthrown by the military coup Omar al-Bashir.
His Ummah party, founded by his grandfather during the British Mandate, was the largest in the opposition. A fierce critic of Omar al-Bashir’s policies, he was imprisoned four times and then forced into exile for a long period.
“Icon of Democracy” in Sudan
Returning to Khartoum in 2017, he then led Nida’al Sudan, a coalition of political parties and armed groups committed to the revolution, which with the support of the army will bring down Omar al-Bashir.
Sadeq al-Mahdi, a wise imam and thinker, had recently warned of a “confiscation of power from the military” and demanded the dissolution of the rapid intervention militias and their integration into the police.
Many saw them as the “icon of democracy” in Sudan, and waged their last struggle from their hospital bed to oppose the normalization of relations with Israel.
Sudan regrets a great loss, especially at this crucial moment for the country. The Sudanese government has announced three days of mourning. “We have lost a thinker and a sage in him,” said the forces of freedom and change of which he was a part.