New corruption allegations against Darfur Regional Authority head
Bahar Idris Abu Garda, federal Minister of Health and head of the Liberation and Justice Party has again accused Dr Tijani Sese, head of the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA), of corruption.
Sese has failed to manage the affairs of the DRA and help the people of Darfur, Abu Garda said at a press conference at the Centre for Future Studies in Khartoum on Monday.
Following a symposium on the performance of the DRA, organised by the Regional Popular Committee for the Follow-up of the Implementation of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), Abu Garda said that his party has come to the conclusion that the DRA cannot be reformed as long as Sese is in power.
He accused Sese of “deliberately monopolising all decisions regarding the appointment of government posts at all levels. The DRA is managed by one man who decides everything, not from Darfur, but from his home at Kafouri in Khartoum North.
“Sese is in control of the Authority’s supervisory board and has stripped the DRA Ministers of all powers. The Council of Ministers has held only four meetings throughout its four-year term. The last one took place eight months ago.”
Abu Garda called on “the people of Darfur to remove Sese as DRA president as he has failed to implement early recovery projects, and is responsible for the rampant corruption in the DDPD’s Disarmament, Demobilisation, and Reintegration (DDR) programme”.
The National Liberation and Justice Party (NLJP), led by Sese, strongly denied the accusations.
Ahmed Fadul, State Minister of the DRA Cabinet and spokesman for the NLJP, told Radio Dabanga that “most of the comments on the DRA these days are malicious, aimed at pursuing their own agenda by downgrading the achievements of the Authority.
“Whatever people may say about the DRA, it is widely present on the ground. Remarkable service projects have already been implemented in each of the five Darfur states.”
In response to the proposed replacement of Sese, Fadul said that all DDPD signatories have the right to nominated candidates for the presidency of the DRA. He stressed however, that the appointment of a new DRA head is the exclusive prerogative of the Sudanese president.
Earlier this month, the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), led by Abu Garda, nominated Osman El Bushra, former DRA Health Minister for the chairmanship of the Authority, repeating its stances on the failure of Sese to implement development projects in Darfur and the postponement of parts of the security arrangements.
In late July, Abu Garda demanded that the Qatari Deputy Prime Minister, Ahmed Bin Abdullah Al Mahmoud, who brokered the DDPD in 2011, suspend all financial transactions to the DRA, “until the signatories of the peace agreement have reached a unified programme of action after the Liberation and Justice Movement split into two political parties in January”.
At the end of last year, conflicts within the LJM, headed by Sese, surfaced. In January, Abu Garda accused Sese of deploying fighters of his personal militia into the DDR programme, instead of LJM ex-combatants.
DRA Minister of Reconstruction, Development, and Infrastructure, Tajeldin Bashir Niyam, at the time told Dabanga Sudan that the lack of accountability at the DRA has contributed to the deteriorating situation in Darfur.
“If the $2 billion of DRA funds had been used appropriately, it would have changed many Darfuri lives. But most of that money went into some people’s pockets,” he claimed.
Sese was ousted as head of the LJM by the movement’s interim board on 18 January. He then formed the National Liberation and Justice Movement (NLJM). Both the NLJM and the LJM, led by Abu Garda, were registered as political parties in February.
The LJM, formed in 2010 by 19 breakaway factions of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM), signed the DDPD in 2011 with the Sudanese government. 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 peace agreement in collaboration with the Sudanese government and with the support of the international partners.
The DRA is expected 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.
Differences about Sese’s position as DRA head within JEM-Sudan, that joined the DDPD in 2013, have led to the dismissal of the movement’s spokesman, El Sadeg Adam Zakaria.
Zakaria favoured the continuation of Sese’s leadership, while the JEM-Sudan’s political secretary, Nahar Osman Nahar opposed it, Sudanese newspapers reported on Tuesday.
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