Darfur Civil Society Platform discusses development projects with Sese
Representatives of the Darfur Civil Society Platform (DCSP) last week discussed the work of the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) with its chairman, Dr El Tijani Sese.
During a lengthy meeting, the members of the DCSP asked Sese a number of questions concerning the policies of the DRA concerning the implementation of development projects, after the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) split into two parties earlier this year.
The LJM, under the leadership of Sese, signed the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) with the Sudanese government in Qatar in July 2011. Sese became the head of the DRA since its establishment in February 2012. Last June, President Omar Al Bashir extended the DRA mandate for another year, effective from 15 July.
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 2011 peace agreement, in collaboration with the Sudanese government and with the support of the international partners.
The regional authority 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.
A senior member of the DCSP told Radio Dabanga that the main issues discussed during the meeting with Sese were the Darfuris’ dissatisfaction about the implementation of the Doha peace agreement, and the donors’ delay in keeping to their commitments in funding development projects in the region.
Sese fiercely criticised “those who accuse the DRA of delaying the projects”. He said that people should not believe what is published in the newspapers, but instead obtain information from official agencies and the embassies of the countries that financially contribute to the implementation of the DDPD.
The DRA chairman stressed that a number of development projects have been implemented so far. The Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development has provided $200 million for the extension of power lines in Darfur.
Turkey has supported the Nyala Hospital management with $50 million. The European Union has started to implement two projects in North and West Darfur at the cost of more than $17 million, and Germany is working on two projects in North Darfur.
The UK, committed to provide $37 million for the rebuilding of Darfur, has postponed the implementation, and will discuss its stance on the situation in the region with the Qatar authorities, he explained.
Sese did not go into the split of the LJM in January this year. After Secretary-General Bahar Idris Abu Garda had fiercely criticised the chairman regarding the postponement of parts of the security arrangements and the failure of implementing development projects in Darfur, Sese dismissed him.
In response, the LJM Interim Board decided to oust its president on 18 January. Sese then formed the National Liberation and Justice Movement (NLJM), which was registered as political party in February. The LJM, headed by Abu Garda, also took part in the April national election as a political party.
As DRA head and leader of the newly established NLJP, Sese has been subjected to accusations of fraud. 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, said that the DRA’s lack of accountability has contributed to the deteriorating situation in Darfur.
After President Al Bashir extended the mandate of the DRA for another year, Sese told the press in Khartoum that the institution “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”.
On 1 July, Radio Dabanga reported that Abu Garda called for a reformation of the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA), “so that it can carry out the assignments for which it has been established”.
The new LJM head 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.”
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