The decision by Dr Tijani Sese, head of the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA), to start an investigation into 11 of its employees for their alleged involvement in stopping a DRA conference in Khartoum in August, is a political decision, says the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM).
The DRA planned to inaugurate Phase Two of the Darfur development projects at the Salam Rotana Hotel in Khartoum on 26 August. A fight, started by former members of the National Liberation and Justice Movement (NLJM) and LJM members put an end to the ceremony.
They insisted on reading a statement in protest against the DRA’s implementation of the Darfur development projects. When this was refused, they started to riot. The police intervened and contained the situation.
Early this year conflicts within the NJM surfaced, when its secretary-general Bahar Idris Abu Garda accused NJM chairman Sese of mismanagement and fraud. Sese was ousted on 18 January, and Abu Garda was elected as his replacement. Sese then formed the NJLM. Since then the DRA, with functionaries of both the JLM and the NJLM, has been divided, too.
Al Bashir ordered an investigation into the fight, under auspices of the Minister of Justice four days later. A meeting between Sese and Abu Garda three weeks after the incident resulted in their reconciliation.
On 9 September, Justice Minister Awad Hassan El Nur announced that his investigation committee heard 24 witnesses of the incident, and submitted the final report to President Al Bashir, to decide on the matter.
According to the spokesman for the LJM, Sharafeddin Mahmoud, Sese’s decision to suspend eight prominent members of their party, occupying DRA posts, among them Khaled Adam Saleh El Rizeigi, Asim Adam Fadul, and Mohamed Saleh Manego, is a political decision intended to pre-empt the presidential investigation committee.
“Sese is using his political function as a weapon to liquidate political opponents. In this way he is causing a confrontation again between the two parties,” he said.
Ahmed Fadul, spokesman for the NJLM, however denied Mahmoud’s allegations. He told Radio Dabanga on Wednesday that the decision to suspend the DRA functionaries is an administrative one, taken to investigate their involvement in the incident on 26 August. “It is a measure taken by the DRA, separately from the presidency.”
The spokesman described the dispute between the two parties as political, and noted that “it is the problematic structure of power and management of the DRA that is to be resolved”.