Members of the Sudanese opposition have condemned constitutional amendments passed in parliament today, saying that ‘they will turn the country into a full-blown police state’.
The Sudanese parliament passed a number of amendments to the 2005 Interim Constitution, concerning the appointment of state governors, the status and powers of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), and the inclusion of the 2011 Doha Document for Peace in Darfur in the Constitution.
The 2005 Interim Constitution granted the states a measure of self-government. The governors were elected, and the states’ parliaments had the right to dismiss a governor with two thirds of the votes. For the upcoming elections scheduled for April 2015, the governors’ ballots will be removed. According to the amendments, the governors will be appointed and dismissed by the president.
The amendments also stipulate that the NISS will become a full part of Sudan's regular forces, instead of being a state institution tasked with the “collection and analysing of information and data”. The paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, a large militia commanded by the NISS, will thus be legitimised.
The parliament, of which 90 percent of the 450 seats are taken by members of the ruling National Congress Party, passed the amendments without any difficulty.
Dr Ismail Hussein Fadlallah, chairman of the parliamentary Popular Congress Party block, called the amendments “sinful”.
He fiercely denounced the amendments to Dabanga, saying that they are completely opposed to the overall text and aims of the Constitution.
“The issue of appointing governors instead of electing them is just a trick to strip the states of their self-determination rights. The amendments aim at returning all the power to the central government.”
He warned that the amendments converting the NISS into a regular force “will change the nature of the state; Sudan will become a police state for 100 percent.”