Abu Garda calls for reformation of Darfur Regional Authority
The head of the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), Bahar Idris Abu Garda, has called for a reformation of the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA), “so that it can carry out the assignments for which it has been established”.
Speaking to reporters in Khartoum on Tuesday, Abu Garda described the DRA performance over the past three years as “very weak”, and accused it of not implementing any development projects in Darfur.
He pointed out that DRA has implemented only 74 out of 1,071 planned rehabilitation projects so far. “They are to be ashamed of themselves,” he said, calling for a rapid reformation of the DRA.
The LJM, under the leadership of Dr El Tijani Sese, signed the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) with the Sudanese government in Qatar, July 2011. Sese became the head of the DRA since its establishment in February 2012.
As outlined in Article 10 of the DDPD, the DRA is a regional authority with both executive and legislative functions. It is the principal instrument for the implementation of the DDPD in collaboration with the Sudanese government and with the support of the international partners.
The DRA is envisaged to play a central role in enhancing implementation, coordination and promotion of all post-conflict reconstruction and development projects and activities in Darfur.
The DDPD further stipulates that the permanent administrative status of Darfur will be determined by a referendum, to be held within one year after the signing of the peace accord. Until the referendum has taken place, the governments of the five Darfur states are supposed to be coordinated and supervised by the DRA.
In December last year, conflicts within the leadership of the former rebel group surfaced. In press conferences in that month and January, Abu Garda fiercely criticised the LJM Leadership Council regarding the postponement of parts of the security arrangements and the failure of implementing development projects in Darfur. On 18 January, the LJM interim board announced the ousting of Sese as its president.
Sese then formed the National Liberation and Justice Movement (NLJM), which was registered as political party in February. The LJM also took part in the April national election as a political party.
As DRA head, Sese has been subjected to accusations of fraud too. In January, Abu Garda accused him of entering fighters of his personal militia into the Disarmament, Demobilisation, and Reintegration (DDR) programme, as agreed on in the DDPD, instead of LJM ex-combatants.
The DRA Minister of Reconstruction, Development, and Infrastructure, Tajeldin Bashir Niyam, at the time also criticised the Authority’s leadership. He said that the DRA’s lack of accountability has contributed to the deteriorating situation in Darfur.
Last Sunday, President Al Bashir extended the mandate of the DRA for another year, after having met a DRA delegation over a conflict about power-sharing arrangements between the NLJM and the ruling party.
After the meeting, Sese told the press in Khartoum that his party would resume its partnership with Khartoum from Monday onwards. He added that in the coming period the DRA “will seek to implement the programmes and projects developed in accordance with the DDPD, including voluntary return, reconstruction, development, sustainability of peace, and the completion of the security arrangements”.
The head of the governmental Darfur Peace Follow-up Office, Amin Hassan Omar, announced during the press conference that the government has postponed the referendum in Darfur, as set out in the DDPD, “until stability has been achieved in the region”.
He said that the Sudanese government “does not fear the referendum, as it will not decide on self-determination, but will rather determine the administrative form of governance. The purpose of the referendum is to know the views of the people of Darfur about the continuation of the five states or not”.
Omar further revealed that proposals to organise the referendum in conjunction with the April national election had been rejected.
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