KHARTOUM (SUNA/Sudanow) - The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM/N), lead by Malik Agar, in February nominated Advocate Buthaina Ibrahim Dinar to assume the burdensome office of Minister of Federal Government.
Part of the Ministry’s heavy portfolio is to lay down the foundations of decentralized government, develop the different structures of local government to guarantee a fair distribution of power and resources nationwide and raise public political awareness away from tribalism and regionalism.
At the moment the Ministry has embarked on a technical workshop in preparation for the conference on the aspired system of governance for Sudan, with respect to the regions and their number, borders, structures of government, jurisdictions and prerogatives and the levels of government in each region. The move is in keeping with the decision last March to adopt federal rule within a wider umbrella of regional administrations. That is: the Sudan will be divided into regions and each region will be divided into a number of federal states within the respective region.
In this respect the Sudan News Agency (SUNA) and Sudanow Magazine have engaged the Minister of Federal Government Buthaina Ibrahim Dinar in an elaborate interview about the essence of the technical workshops that preceded the conference on the Governance System in Sudan, in addition to some other issues the Ministry is trying to resolve.
Q: How do you perceive the work of a ministry with such a heavy agenda and the intricate issues it is assigned to handle?
A: In the Ministry of Federal Government we strive to establish a constitutional state that accommodates all, along the principle of the right of citizenship and the management of diversity through the establishment of institutional frameworks. The constitutional state means the durability and sustainability of institutions and systems, no matter which government is in office. The Ministry is concerned with the question of government and administration in Sudan. It is also directly concerned with the society and the people’s affairs. It is from this outlook that the Ministry is perceived as the mother of ministries. This requires from the Ministry to be well prepared to play its pivotal role and answer the objectives of the revolution and the requirements of change. This means the initiation of plans for big reform that (in the first place) is the restructuring of the Ministry itself in order to become capable of carrying its duties in terms of cadres and the enhancement of the working environment.
And because the Ministry is responsible for the country’s different states, it should also take care of the cadres working therein and promote their performance.
In addition, the Ministry is also concerned with the issue of peace building through the implementation of the Juba peace pact which is considered a turning point in the country’s political progress. That is because this pact (in addition to the revolution’s options for ‘freedom, peace and justice), constitutes the bases for the future system of rule. These two elements give indicators for cohesion among the levels of the government and the sharing of wealth among the states. To reach these goals the laws will be overhauled, starting from the local government law, the laws with direct relation to the communities (like the native administration laws), the law of the administrative officers and the services committees’ law, for these laws to cope with the requirements of the present stage.
Q: What change can the technical workshops preceding the works of the conference on the Governance System in Sudan make as regards the creation of an order that answers the aspirations of the revolution?
A: The current technical workshop has tackled the issue of local government, the regional and federal government law (with its horizontal and vertical relationships), in addition to five basic axes: the relation between the government systems, the borders, the geographical divisions within the federal-regional rule, human, economic and financial resources and the axis of self-rule for the areas specified in the Juba peace agreement.
The conference on the Governance System in Sudan is also concerned with conferences related to the Juba peace accord. These are the conferences for the regions that suffered negligence, such as the East Sudan conference which is supposed to precede the government and administration conference. It will discuss all the issues of the Eastern Region which, like the other regions of the country, has suffered from insufficient development, the deteriorating infrastructure, weak government structures and inadequate representation of its citizens in government. There is also the North Kordofan conference, which is also a developmental conference. In this conference Kordofan’s developmental issues will be discussed in-depth in the light of the Juba peace agreement.
There is also a conference for the state of Khartoum as a Capital of the country where everybody is looking for it to be a capital for all.
Q: The component of the native administration has weakened in terms of structures and frameworks as a result of the practices of the defunct regime that tamed this administration by intimidation or persuasion in order to pass its political agenda. What can your Ministry do to put things right in this respect?
A: In reality, the native administration, like other sectors and institutions, has suffered quite a lot during the defunct regime through the experiment of the local government and its administrations. The country was forced into a bitter experiment. But the glorious December Revolution, by the conducive climate of freedom it has created (making expression possible and leading to public tolerance) has availed an opportunity to convene such a conference as the federal-regional government conference. The revolution has allowed good opportunities for the management of diversity after a ruinous phase that affected all utilities. The worst of this was the destruction of the native administration. To put things right again, there is need to reform the laws. That should not mean the Ministry will intervene from above to reform this administration, but this will be done by democratic means. For that, the Ministry is urging the native administration to reform itself, according to the will of the citizens and what they see. These citizens’ options can be tribal or what the people choose. They can choose their representatives according to their own choices, and the Ministry will respect these choices. However, the native administration should not be politicized.
Q: Is the convening of conferences and workshops enough to tackle this vast sum of complicated issues that accumulated to become part of the country’s chronic suffering?
A: The biggest and most complicated issues should first be tabled for discussion via working papers where experts can give their say in a manner that can be understood and perceived. It is through this endeavor that sound bases can be laid for building a new Sudan where justice, development and prosperity can be attained. This matter will consolidate national unity. This workshop is a nucleus for the convening of the federal rule conference. It is its initial technical step. Such workshops will also be held in all the states. We are before a big challenge to achieve transformation and change. Cohesion, unity and continuous work are sure the basics for the march towards democracy.
Q: In Sudan, like in other countries of the Third World, the idea of state building is not clear, because those countries can just be called entities, not states. What is your view for creating a state in Sudan according to the internationally recognized principles?
A: As I said before, we in the Ministry of Federal Government are working for the establishment of the state of the law and the constitution, to be based on the rights of citizenship within the framework of how diversity can be managed.
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