Darfur Regional Authority :an Honest Partnership for Model Peace
A number of challenges and obstacles face the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA), an authority upon which the citizens of Darfur placed their aspirations and ambitions, but it sounds as if the procrastination of the donor countries is holding back the agreement from achieving its prospective goals.
The DRA has set its foremost priority, which is the return of IDPs and refugees to their villages and hometowns, an agenda based upon which all the others; but the failure of the donors to expedite their action has held back this vital step, a step that requires a lot of money.
Dr. Al-Tijani Al-Sisi has admitted the presence of numerous obstacles hindering the implementation of many projects in Darfur, especially the challenges currently facing the country and the attack on Heglig, these hindrances resulted in delaying the implementation of numerous IDP and refugee-focused development projects in Darfur and delaying two strategic conferences allocated for the raising of funds to secure financial support for the implementation of Doha Document agendas.
Seeking Means of Support:
The head of DRA kept looking for plentiful means to meet the promises he made to the people of Darfur, the efforts he made to support the DRA included meeting the British charge D'affaires in Khartoum, head of the World Bank in Khartoum, and head of USAID.
Experts think that the previous peace processes in Darfur did not hold out steadily, but the Document signed with the Liberation and Justice Movement –an agreement that was faced by rejection by some- held its own in the five states of Darfur.
Experts also said that the most important achievement of the authority is coordinating between the states and they excluded the possibility of obstacles caused by lack of cooperation, confirming that the authority has a clear plan and clear-cut roadmap after the signing of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) with all its articles and items. They added that the DRA is an authority of the masses that has jurisdiction as an authority for the entire region and that the deficiencies that took place so far are ones caused by lack of funding.
Procrastination of Donors:
|Sidig Abd Alnabi|
Sidig Abd Alnabi, head of the DRA in East Darfur state, said that their state is a new born state. He said that the recent attacks of South Sudan affected the state, the responsibilities of the DRA, and the life of citizens negatively. He stated that the recent costliness of prices is caused by the fact that a number of traders stored goods and delayed the trade exchange between different states. He said that –being the official in charge of the DRA in East Darfur- he implemented a number of developmental projects including building dams, digging wells to provide drinking water, and implementing development and infrastructure projects. He considered that it is too early for the DRA to execute all of its duties towards citizens.
He said that the delay in sending funds by the donors is to blame for inability to implement the DDPD, but he expected that next year a number of big projects will be implemented in Darfur states, calling on the donors to meet their commitments to enable the DRA to realize the agreement on the ground and fulfill its commitments towards the citizens in Darfur.
The attacks of South Sudan on the Sudanese borders raised a lot of fears regarding the implementation of the peace agreement in Darfur, but to the contrary of these fears, the peace process in Darfur moved steadily ahead on the domestic, regional and international levels, reflecting genuine governmental attention to the agreement, attention that led to stabilizing the region since the commencement of the implementation of the agreement that also reflects international joint efforts to realize peace in Darfur.
Assessing the Implementation of the Agreement:
Taj Aldin Niyam, head of the political sector of the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), said that a number of agendas were not implemented despite the fact that others were satisfactorily implemented.
He affirmed that a presidential advisor, two federal ministers, two state ministers, and a vice president were appointed in implementation of the agreement, that in addition to appointing the head of the DRA, implementing the movement's participation protocol on the states' level, forming the commissions, passing the formation of the of the DRA government, choosing the headquarters of the DRA in El Fashir, in addition to holding the international donor conference in El Fashir, forming the human rights commission and appointing the Darfur Crimes Public Prosecutor, forming the ceasefire committee, and proceeding with integrating the movement's forces, a mission that has been done with a 90% performance rate.
Niyam said that a number of items were not implemented, including: the presidential decree to free all the movement's convicts and prisoners is still awaiting approval in the president's office, the non-military logistical support related to the integration of the movement's is yet to see the light, the formation of national commissions for civil service has not yet been in effect, the decision to exempt students from Darfur from tuition fees is not applied, the government's $200 Million support to the DRA has not been deposited, cars for movement of employees were not procured, the conference of the people of Darfur and voluntary return was not held, but is expected to be held next June, appointing senior officials in Sudanese embassies abroad is another decision that was not implemented. The other decisions that were not implemented are appointing presidential assistant, forming a committee of economic experts to follow up on implementing the projects in Darfur in addition to forming the council of the regional authority, which is considered the legislative system that monitors the performance of the Regional authority. Representing the movement in the parliament and in the state legislatures is another issue that waits for being looked into.
Responsibility of the Government:
Field Marshal Omar Al-Bashir, the President of the Republic, issued a presidential decree to form the High Committee to follow up on the Peace Document Implementation in Darfur. The decree stated the president as head of the committee, Ali Osman Mohammed Taha, first vice president, and Al-Tijani Al-Sisi, head of the DRA, as deputy heads of the committee, that in addition to 14 federal ministers as members of the committee.
According to the presidential decree the committee will supervise the implementation of the agreement on the ground through coordinating with federal and state authorities, in addition to supervising the work of the Office that follows up on the implementation of the agreement.
The committee will form the required committees to perform the different duties and any other duties deemed necessary, the committee holds its meetings monthly at the presidency of the republic. The decree also provided the possibility of convening emergency meetings if its head deems one necessary, and the Federal Ministry of Finance will provide the necessary funds to enable the committee perform its tasks.
The President also issued another decree under which he reinstated the Darfur Peace Agreement Implementation Follow-up Office (DPAIFO), the office is headed by Dr. Amin Hassan Omer, state minister at the presidency. The office in its new formation includes representatives from the ministries of: Defense, Foreign Affairs, Justice, Interior, Finance, Social Welfare, and Media. The committee is also going to include a representative of the National Intelligence and Security Service, while the minister of Defense is the deputy head of the office.
According to the presidential decree, DPAIFO will focus on following up on the efforts to realize peace in Darfur, and advise the High committee on the same issue.
The office will draft the Darfur related policies and strategies after deliberation with the concerned authorities, in addition to following up on the implementation of the president's decree regarding peace on Darfur in addition to any other decisions that fall within mandates specified by the constitution, along with following up on the steps regarding the permanent administrative status of the region.
The decree also delegated the matter of contacting the armed movements that have yet to join the peace process but are willing to join the peace process. The office is also responsible for preparing periodic reports regarding the implementation of the peace agreement.
The presidential decrees came into light after Al-Tijani Al-Sisi -head of the Liberation and Justice Movement that signed the peace agreement- released pessimistic statements regarding the implementation of the peace agreement, pessimism that he attributed to the lack of funding. In a statement released in the Weekly Forum at the home of Seid Ahmed Alkhalifa, he uncovered what he considered a situation of resentment prevailing over the IDPs and the supporters of DDPD, resentment caused by the slow rhythm with which some of the agreement's provisions are being implemented due to shortage of necessary funds.
Al-Sisi indicated the difficulties facing the implementation of the provisions related to the voluntary return of the IDPs and security arrangements, confirming that these provisions are in need for funds in order to be implemented, considering the lack of funding as a threatening and imminent menace to the agreement. Al-Sisi expressed his worry that this agreement will turn into another Abuja, stressing on implementing the security arrangements.
Al-Tijani Al-Sisi, head of the DRA, conducted an international tour aimed at mobilizing international support for the implementation of the DDPD; Assisi met Hamad Bin Khalifa Althani, Prince of Qatar, on Friday and briefed him on the course of the implementation of the Agreement.
Al-Sisio also met a number of Qatari officials in his five-day visit to Doha. Ibrahim Musa Madibo, spokesman of the DRA, confirmed the support of the Qatari government to the early vivification of the IDP and refugee voluntary return program which is adopted by the Qatari Supreme Committee.
In a press release to SMC, Madibo commended the decree issued by the president to form the high committee to follow up on the implementation of the peace agreement and to reinstate DPAIFO. He said that the presidential decree confirms the desire of the government to ensure the implementation of the peace agreement. In a meeting with Ahmed Abd Allah Al Mahmoud, Qatari deputy prime minister and state minister of the cabinet, sponsor of the agreement, Al-Sisi reviewed the course of the peace process in Darfur and the implementation of the peace process.
Return in the Presence of Security
The presidential decrees come at a time when the region is witnessing an increasing rate of security prevalence, a condition the region has been gradually falling into since the signing of the agreement in the middle of last year, the presence of security was also confirmed by Ibrahim Gambari, Joint Special Representative, who also confirmed the decline of conflicts, tribal disputes, and criminal activities against civilians in Darfur.
Gambari affirmed in a press conference that the percentage of returnees is increasing, explaining that the number of returning IDPs is at 109 thousand in addition to 31 thousand refugees. The envoy unveiled a tour he made in Chad and Burkina Faso to convince the armed rebels to resume negotiations with government.
He called on the parties that rejected the peace agreement to adopt political dialogue and called on the government of South Sudan to discontinue their support to the Darfuri armed movements. He said that Juba's support to the rebel movements will reflect negatively on the stability in the region, besides the fact that it will encourage these movements to walk the path of war as opposed to the path of dialogue, but Gambari complained that the looting and ransacking cases are high in number in several places in Darfur, not to mention attacking humanitarian workers and the peace reinforcement institutions.
Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid, Minister of Interior, confirmed his ministry's concern regarding realizing security, stability and re-knitting the social fabric in Darfur states. In a meeting with the governor of West Darfur, the minister stressed the need to combat the activities of outlaws to spread the sovereignty of the state and scrutinize the regulations of bearing arms. He disclosed that his ministry has sent a specialized team from the Central Police Investigations Force to combat the car theft phenomenon and establish a control and command.
By Najat Ahmed, 21/05/2012