KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - “The new government reshuffle needs a jog,’’ announced Presidential Assistant, Deputy Chairman of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), Ibrahim Mahmoud.
Mahmoud’s remark sums up the constraints facing the formation of the proposed government of national concord.
The problem rests with the selection of representatives of other political parties after the NCP had consented to reduce its share in government portfolios to give more room for other parties.
The NCP politburo is scheduled to convene immediately after the return of President Omar al-Bashir from his trip to Ethiopia by the weekend.
The belated announcement of the new government has triggered a lot of speculations as the expected reshuffle was supposed to be made in the first week of this month. Until the new government is announced, a state of suspense would continue to loom, in particular in the light of the so many leaked lists of nominees for ministerial portfolios, many of which had proved to be just wishful thinking.
Quotas and Balances:
Leaks tell that the NCP would clinch 15 federal government portfolios and would, in addition, chair seven parliament committees. The other parties will obtain 16 federal government portfolios and 50% of the federal government state ministerial (deputy ministers) posts. By that measure, the NCP has relinquished 9 of its deputy ministers’ posts. The new government formation will leave the share of the NCP former allies as they were (10 federal government portfolios). By that the NCP’s overall share in the new government will be cut down to 48%.
The same sources quote Mahmoud as saying his party would get 15 central government portfolios while the political parties would get 16 and that the party would relinquish 50% of its state ministerial posts.
In the meantime the NCP partners have put forward the names of their nominees to the new government. The lists contain the names of the ministers in the current government without any change.
The NCP is now in talks with the Democratic Unionist Party of Presidential Assistant Jalal al-Degair about the post of Assistant to the President, now that Degair has left the country, amid indications that the post would be withdrawn from that party.
The sources add that the parliament would create two new committees and would merge and break a number of its 14 committees. According to the sources, the NCP would chair 7 of the parliament committees. The political parties would have an appointed additional 67 deputies in the parliament as recommended by the National Dialogue Conference. Names of some 45 of the new deputies have already been put forward.
The Government Priorities:
President Omar al-Bashir has announced that the priorities of the new government would be to attract investments and beef up production and productivity. “We are keen about effecting a qualitative jump in agricultural production through the provision of necessary funding, equipment and other inputs,’’ Bashir had said.
In an address before the parliament, Bashir has pledged to ‘’ provide the conditions for a decent life for the citizens, protect limited income citizens, continue to revise wages and salaries and create more jobs for the youths and university graduates.’’
Bashir has, further, pledged to boost the country’s defense capabilities and would keep up the search for peace.
He promised to continue with enhancing the country’s external relations ‘’ in the best way that maintains the sovereignty of the nation and serves its interests.’’
Political analyst Mohammad Abdelnabi has called for due attention to the country’s external relations, in particular with respect to the country’s security in the light of the deteriorating situation in neighboring Libya and Southern Sudan.
He said the new government should pay attention to the economy and seek to attract investments and improve trade and the industry. “Ministries concerned with these matters should do the best they could in order to enhance their performance, in keeping with the declared policy for better production and productivity,’’ he said.
NCP Committed To Partisan Reform:
The ruling NCP looks committed to what it called ‘’ the document for party reform’’. The Party’s adherents consider the document a true criteria for any intra-party healthy conduct and a criteria for the selection of the new ministers.
Member of the NCP political sector Rabee’ Abdela’ati has said that his party would adhere to the party reform document in the selection of the new ministers. He explained that no party member who had served for two ministerial terms would be nominated for a government portfolio once again. He said youths would have more chances as decided by the party leadership at an early stage.
“The criterion of efficiency will be the basis for the selection of new ministers,’’ according to an NCP source, who recalled a directive of former First Vice President Ali Osman Mohammad Taha that a nominee for an executive post should have a post graduate degree.
In addition, the nominee should have a proven decency and should have a good organizational record within the party.
Journalist Osama Abdelmajid expects many of the well-known ministers would quit their jobs as a result of the reduction of the NCP’s share in the government. “The NCP has relinquished six ministerial posts, four of which have been declared within the party’s corridors. These are the ministries of animal resources, culture, agriculture and the industry,’’ Abdelmajid has said, adding that the NCP ‘’ had later on relinquished an additional two ministerial posts which had not been disclosed yet.’’
Abdelmajid has warned against a rebellion within the NCP as a result of job loss. “Those who lose their jobs may show open or clandestine fury under the pretext of national reform, a matter that dictates special handling,’’ he said.
He warns against more complications ahead for the ruling NCP due to the big inflation in the upcoming government, in particular with the hike in the number of state ministers. He notes that there are ministries with one state minister, some others with two state ministers such as the ministries of finance, agriculture, foreign affairs, electric power and international cooperation. The Cabinet Affairs Ministry has one full minister in addition to three state ministers. The Darfur former rebel movements may also need convenient accommodation in the new government, says Abdelmajid.
He further blames the NCP for not assessing the experiment of its present partners. An indication of this is that most of the parties in the current cabinet are determined to put forward the same names, some of whom had already served for two terms.” This contravenes the spirit of reform and change the NCP has been preaching,’’ he said.
Qualitative, Not Quantitative:
The opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP), the most outstanding opposition organization that took part in the National Dialogue Conference, has put forward criteria that look different from the NCP’s reform document. The PCP believes that its share of 15% in the new government would not be effective. That is why the party is hinting towards a qualitative and not quantitative participation in the new government. This can be attained by raising the criteria for selecting its representatives in the new government.
” The public may have lost confidence in the Islamists. That is why anyone who is named for the new government should become a model in public service. He should present himself as a model of decency, discipline and commitment in order to encourage the public to vote for the Islamists in 2020,’’ according to one source.
The PCP was part of the NCP until 2000 when its founder the late Islamist Leader Hassan al-Turabi fell out with the Government over constitutional differences and formed his own party.
The second criterion which is in circulation in the PCP ranks, according to this source, is the distancing of persons who assumed official positions in the early years of the National Salvation Government, even if they were exemplary in conduct and performance. The tendency is to put forward new cadres.
‘’The most outstanding of the PCP criteria, according to the source, is that candidates for executive posts should be young, qualified and mature. Such a candidate can be from outside the PCP but committed to work within the PCP platform. Here this cadre can be presented in the name of the PCP to serve the public interest,’’ according to the source.
E N D