Darfur: El Tijani Sese ousted as chairman of Liberation and Justice Movement

The Interim Board of the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) announced today that its members unanimously decided to withdraw the mandate of its head, Dr Tijani Sese. His functions are to be temporarliy delegated to the chairman of the Board, Bakhit Ismail Dahya. In the LJM’s general conference, scheduled to take place on 10 February, a new chairman will be elected.

On Saturday, the Council members came together, after Sese had issued his decision to dismiss LJM Secretary-General Bahar Idris Abu Garda the day before.

Conflicts within the LJM, that signed the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) with the Sudanese government in July 2011, have surfaced the last couple of weeks. In press conferences on 28 December and 7 January, Abu Garda fiercely criticised the LJM Leadership Council about the postponement of parts of the security arrangements. Consequently, the movement had to adjourn its registration as a political party.

The Interim Board of the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) announced today that its members unanimously decided to withdraw the mandate of its head, El Tijani Sese. His functions are to be temporarliy delegated to the chairman of the Board, Bakheet Dahya. A new chair will be elected at the LJM’s general conference scheduled to take place on 10 February.

On Saturday, the council members came together, after Sese had decided to dismiss LJM Secretary-General Bahar Abu Garda the day before.

Conflicts within the LJM, that signed the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) with the Sudanese government in July 2011, have surfaced over the last few weeks. In press conferences on 28 December and 7 January, Abu Garda fiercely criticised the LJM Leadership Council about the postponement of parts of the security arrangements. Consequently, the movement had to adjourn its registration as a political party.

Sharafeldin Mahmoud, another LJM leader, last week said that Tijani Sese, who also heads the Darfur Regional Authority, has become a “cancer in the body of the LJM”.

The chairman of the LJM Interim Board told Dabanga that the full membership of the board came together on Saturday to discuss “the many failures of Sese, of which the latest one was sacking Abu Garda. With his decision to remove LJM’s secretary-general, Sese clearly abused his powers.”

Dahya said that the board agreed to hold its general conference on 10 February, “during which a new head of the movement will be elected”. “Sese will be invited in his capacity as a member of the movement.”

Political parties

The movement’s leaders in Khartoum acknowledged the split. LJM spokesman and Minister of State for the Council of Ministers, Ahmed Fadul, said at a press conference in Sudan’s capital today that both factions submitted a request at the political parties’ registrar to be registered as a political party.

“The party to be headed by Abu Garda will be named the Liberation and Justice Party. The other party, of which the founding meeting will be convened on 15 March, is an initiative of affiliates of Sese, called the National Liberation and Justice Party,” he said.

Accusations

At the end of December, disagreements among the LJM leaders surfaced. In a press conference in Khartoum on 28 December, Fadul publicly accused “certain groups” within the movement of seeking to obstruct the implementation of the security arrangements as stipulated in the DDPD. He pointed to Abu Garda as the main instigator.

In another press conference in Sudan’s capital on the same day, Abu Garda said that the adjournment of the security arrangements has put plans at risk to convert the movement into a political party. “The LJM, immediately after the integration of the first batch of ex-rebels in the regular army, formally informed the political parties’ registrar about the transformation of the movement into a political party,” he announced.

Abu Garda stressed that his group did not intend to split from the movement, pointing out that “differences can be resolved within the institution”.

On 7 January, Abu Garda told reporters in Khartoum that Sese had pilfered the names of LJM combatants belonging, and instead submitted the details of fighters close to him, as well as troops of his own militia, to the Security Arrangements Commission. He also said that the performance of the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA), headed by El Tijani Sese, “has not achieved the level required”.

‘Another platform’

Camp leaders in eastern Chad and Darfur denounced the conflicts within the LJM in January. Adam Suleiman, head of the Oure Cassoni refugee camp in eastern Chad, commented by saying that “The accusations exchanged by the LJM leaders represent a betrayal to the Darfuris”.

“The NJM leaders, of which many filled the leadership posts of the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA), are fighting for their interests and gains, not for the cause of the people whose situation seriously aggravated after the signing of the DDPD.”

The camp head appealed to all Sudanese to unite “to find a real solution to the Darfur issues through another platform”.