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‘Sudan Dialogue committee agrees on transitional government’

January 31 - 2016 KHARTOUM
A meeting session of the National Dialogue in Khartoum (Suna)
A meeting session of the National Dialogue in Khartoum (Suna)

The members of the National Dialogue agreed to form a transitional government on Thursday. The government is to be chaired by the President Al Bashir.

Chairman of the National Dialogue’s Committee for Governance Affairs, Dr Barakat Mousa El Hawati, told the press at the Dialogue’s media centre on Thursday that the committee has reached an agreement on “a peaceful transfer of power through a national reconciliation government led by President Omar Al Bashir”.

The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) was initially opposed to the establishment of a transitional government, an idea that was also proposed by the Sudanese opposition parties and armed movements. In the Sudan Appeal document, signed in Addis Ababa in December 2014, the main Sudanese opposition forces call for a regime-change and the rebuilding of Sudan based on democratic principles and equal citizenship.

El Hawati further said that the Governance Committee unanimously approved the national and local levels of government. They leave the decision of the regional division levels, the federal states, to a “panel of conciliators”.

In late December, he announced that the committee members reached “unanimous agreement” on drafting a new Constitution.

“The new Constitution will affirm the independence of the judiciary, the rule of law, separation of powers and good governance. [..] If the outcomes of the national dialogue are implemented, Sudan is bound to move to a new phase in its history,” the chairman stated.

Darfur referendum and the federal system

As for the five Darfur states, a referendum will take place in April in which the people living in Darfur are given the opportunity, in line with the 2011 Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, to decide on the administrative status of the region. They can choose whether to continue with the five states-system or to return to one administrative region.

The referendum on the administrative status of Darfur, scheduled for April next year, opened the door for discussions on the pros and cons of the Sudanese federal system. Mustafa Osman Ismail, head of the NCP Political Bureau, stated last August that the Darfur referendum requires a “thorough review” of the Sudanese federal system.

On 2 November, Second Vice-President Hassabo Abdelrahman briefed the Members of Parliament on the preparations for a national conference on decentralised governance. He said the conference will assess the current system, and ways to simultaneously enhance national unity, the decentralisation of decision-making procedures, and the delivery of services.

Sudan Tribune reported on Friday that several officials in the national government recently indicated their preference for the current 18 states system.

Darfuri displaced and rebel movements, Sudanese opposition parties, and civil society activists have expressed grave concerns about holding the referendum “in the current circumstances in which the rule of law is entirely absent”. Moreover, many expect the result to be “precooked”.

Darfuri scholar Dr Hamid Eltigani recently told Radio Dabanga that Khartoum plans to change the name of the region in order to eliminate Darfur as an entity. “A secret map outlining the new borders of Darfur has been prepared, which is known to three people only.”

Combating poverty

The chairman of the Committee for Governance Affairs added that the members of his committee also agreed that the state must adopt “serious policies and programmes for combating poverty” and “assume the fair distribution of the national income”.

The committee members further agreed that “all political forces must refrain from violence, be committed to tolerance, and contribute to the implementation of democratic rule”, El Hawati said.

National Dialogue

In January 2014, President Omar al Bashir proposed the establishment of a National Dialogue to deal with the political, financial, economic, and foreign crises the country is suffering from. He announced the restoration of public freedoms. In reality however, these freedoms were further repressed.

After extensive preparations, the National Dialogue was inaugurated in Khartoum on 10 October last year. Though invited several times by the Sudanese president, the main opposition parties and armed movements declined to participate.

The various National Dialogue committees are expected to wrap-up their meetings in February.

(Sudanese News Agency, Sudan Tribune)

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