Sudan govt. to launch national conference on federalism
On Monday, Second Vice-President Hassabo Mohamed Abdelrahman briefed the Members of Parliament on the preparations for a national conference on decentralised governance in Sudan.
He said the conference will assess the current system, and ways to simultaneously enhance national unity and the decentralisation of decision-making procedures and the delivery of services.
The vice-president condemned the increased regionalism and tribalism in the country, and said that the federal system has to be better adapted to the Sudanese situation. He considered a return to the provincial system impossible. This would encourage several regions in the country to demand a form of self-rule, he warned.
A number of MPs responded by saying that the decentralised governance has led to a huge increase of overhead costs, at the expenses of the basic services. They pointed out that “there are government officials, in particular commissioners at the Presidency, sitting in their offices doing nothing, while they receive good salaries and incentives”.
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. In the 2011 Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), it was agreed that the Darfuris should decide on the permanent status of the Darfur region in a referendum, whether to continue with the five states-system or to return to one administrative region.
The Darfur referendum requires a “thorough review” of the Sudanese federal system, Mustafa Osman Ismail, head of the Political Bureau of the ruling National Congress Party's proposed in August.
The rebel movements in Darfur and in the Two Areas (South Kordofan and Blue Nile) propagate a far-going degree of autonomy for the Sudanese regions.
Until July 1973, Sudan existed of nine provinces. In that month, the government of President Jaafar Nimeiri divided Darfur into North and South Darfur, the same was done for Kordofan. The Blue Nile province was split into Blue Nile, White Nile, and El Gezira states.
Darfur was divided into three states in 1994. In 2012, the region was re-divided into five states.
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