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Federalism and political system in the Sudan

اذهب الى الأسفل

Federalism and political system in the Sudan

مُساهمة  Adil في الخميس فبراير 11, 2010 12:06 pm


University of Fribourg

Institute of Federalism

Summer University 2009

Federalism and political system in the Sudan


By: Idris Abdulwhab

Center of studies of Islam and contemporary world

Email:idrisyasin2001@gmail.com


Table of contents:
Introduction 3
Background Modern Sudan 3
Political system since independence 4
The Federal Experience 6
Advantages & challenges Adopting federal
system in Sudan 9
Conclusion 14
Bibliography 16


Federalism and political system in the Sudan

Introduction
The research paper aims to assess the new federal experience in the Sudan during the implementation phase and it aims to explore the political, cultural and historical situation, which has contributed to push the political systems to call for the application of federalism system. The paper starts from the premise that federalism helps in the national communities apply democracy, and seeks to extend full political, economic and social rights for all people in the society. We find that the Sudanese political arena has witnessed several developments since the early independence; Sudan has not seen political stability, security for political, economic and social reasons.
The papers will discus the federal issue since bulding of the modern Sudan and it also evaluate the experience and what the positive aspects and challenges. In conclusion some advices to improve the federal system by learning from the experiences from other countries.

Background Modern Sudan
Sudan is located in the north- eastern part of Africa; it is the largest country in the continent as an area of million square miles and to the east it spreads to the Horn of Africa and south to the West Lakes region is similar to much of West African States. The north we find the Sahara and Nubian people’s cultures which was formed established throughout the history of Egypt. Sudan is sharing borders with nine states. Sudan has diverse climate varies from a tropical climate, hot and semi-arid to arid areas.
This large area and the sprawling border of the Sudan has made it like a small continent of Africa, where numerous tribal and local dialects overlap intensively with the neighboring countries and sometimes is considered as bridge to the neighboring countries and also a place to live. These open borders since the history of successive migrations of either the Arabs or Africans formed the fabric of the people in Sudan, thus the Sudan became a link between Africa and the Arab world.
Sudan has passed over several historical stages starting from the Nuba ancient civilizations in the north to the Kingdom of Alfonj in Sinnar and Darfur kingdoms in the West till the Turkish Egyptian colonialism in Sudan. when the formation of the modern Sudan state has began, sudan,s first experience of state creation within approximately its present boundaries occurred during the period of Turco-Egyptian expansion which began in 1820. That experience evolved through different stages , and after that the State Mahdya which drove the Turks and Egyptians from the Sudan until the coming British and Egyptians colonialism at the end of the nineteenth century.
Political system since independence
Sudan is found in the third world are modern state was formed after the departure of the colonizes, who often did not take into account the rights of the ethnic groups. The colonial rule is accused by the leaders of the third World as a deliberate act of division between different people , and most of those acts done by the British colonial power in the Sudan, which left an impact in the construction of the modern Sudanese state. The imposition of the closed areas laws in southern Sudan to separate the Arab traders from the south contributed to the consolidation of the feeling that the North and the South are two states governed by one colonial rule. This is one of the acts of the colonial power which left impacts in the structure of the modern Sudanese state.

The Southern elite have held Juba Conference prior to the independence that came out calling for a federal system and to give the South more autonomy . The reactions of the northern elite were rejecting these calls and demands as considered a red line. The dominant theme in that period was no federation for one nation.The use of one-nation was concept the most important reasons which started the conflict raised at a later stage, due to clear difference between the Arab Muslim in the North and the African Christian elements in the south. Instead of enriching this diversity as a reality of the cultural, economic and social life it exacerbated the conflict. it would have been more meaningful to look into account of these demands, instead of the slogans that does not help in any way.

But it seems that the elite in the north were not well aware of the federal system and how it is appropriate to the situation in Sudan in terms of geography, social and historical, which make them refuses these demands in totality, and this led to the emergence of conflict between cultures where all the tools were used to fuel this war to the emergence of cultural and social wars floating on the surface. The situation led to the intervention of regional and international forces which contributed positively and negatively and influence the impact during the war. A peace agreement was signed in Addis Ababa in 1972 and adopted by the regional government of southern Sudan.

A decade period of calm has contributed to resolve some confusion in the minds of the elite and leaders of Sudan, but eventually Elnimeiri cancelled the agreement and abrogated the regional autonomy for southern Sudan which ignited conflict, then Elnimeiri authority thrown through a popular revolution rarely happened in the Third World countries 1985.This situation reflects the mitigation of the Center and to give control of the southern area of the province of their own affairs, but contribution to the political decision-making continued to be from the influence of the central and away from southerners and the actual control of the northern elites.

Under the democratic system there is the composition of boards and popular committees to reduce the dominance of the center. That contributes to the increase of the public participation, but "the great parties adhered to the formal democracy which was confined to the political aspect of democracy did not consider the social, economic or even cultural aspect which achieve the national unity, which give equality to all cultural and ethnic groups including non-Arab Muslim identities .

In general we can say that the Sudanese past experience of democracy does not create new form of governance to expand the base of participation. Both the first and second democratic periods (1956-1958 and 1964-1969) inherited and continued the practice since the start of the period of autonomy, a parliamentary form of parties government continuing the dependence on the Local Government Act 1951, while the third democratic period (1986-1989) has gone on a regional government, which created the Law of May 1980 .

The period of military rule by Abboud did not mobilize by the popular participation and governed by the military rulers of the nine existing provinces. While the government of Elnumeiri which is know as May government set up a political organization which is Sudanese Socialist Union, and at the level of administrative structure, the government enacted a law on local governance of the year 1971 and the Regional Autonomy Act of 1972, and later a law on regional government was declared in 1980 .

The Federal Experience
In the Sudan, as a result of the religious and cultural pluralism and the historical civil wars, it was a must to search for a system that meets the aspirations of all the components of the Sudanese people. a federal system is to be established in one of two ways: the historical development from the Confederation to the federal system and it can also be established through the election of the federal system through self-direct proportion due the existence of special circumstances or reasons require this choice. These reasons differ from one country to another and, in the case of the Sudan the state was central, "but the final selection of the federal was a response to political democratic pressure to transfer the powers because of the multi-linguistic, multi-religious and multi-ethnic of the state and perhaps also because of the presence of significant economic differences between the regions .
We note that the Sudanese state has passed many experiences, but the need of federalism has started increasingly in the last period as it is considered the worst option by people who believe for our nation state building system. Nevertheless, it was seen by some that Federalism is the real solution to the intractable problems of the Sudan since independence, seminars and workshops were held concerning federalism and their relevance for the development of Sudan, and it found support from a large number of intellectuals from all political persuasions, despite the objections of some groups.
One of the most prominent reasons to adopt the federalism in the Sudan is "the large country can not be governed from the center because of the weak communications and the lack of information in the Center with the lack of a sense of the suffering in the peripheries, and the ethnic, cultural and regional diversity which cause different problems, perspectives and feelings, which calls for the decision-making power and its implementation to be in the place of the events where it is directly affected. But also another matter called for the application of federalism in Sudan is the domination of the power of one cultural, ethnical and religious element which is the Arab-Islamic element in the center. The domination lead to the monopoly of the power of a specific category of the population and the vast majority remain in isolation from participation

Tribal and sectarians play a major role in the Sudan. Belonging to a tribe has a significant role in the political orientations and religious sectarianism. The Khatmiyya sectarians influence the communities in the north and east Sudan, while the Ansars sectarians in the west of Sudan. Both sectarians influence the political, economic and social development, as well as the tribal affiliations is much influencing than many others. “It is not surprising that tribal league among the Arabic tribes is the basic and not the national unity, and this tribalism is continuing to the present day . Religious and Ethnicity causes of conflicts are very explosive and controversial issues because of their immense complications. in the Sudan although religious differences between the north and the south are considered as some of the factors with the least contribution to the conflict, it has been claimed to be the most driving factor in the civil war, particularly in the western media .
Due to these conditions and the rejection of the Arab culture domination began calls for the application of the federalism to solve the situation in which the Sudanese State has arrived and the crises that are generated during the systems of central dominations of all aspects of the country.
By control of the Ingaz government power in a coup by the democratic system, the government started talking about the Sudan's problems accumulated for decades during the national dialogue conference held to discuss the issues of peace in October 1989. The National Conference of the dialogue has noted that the political experiences which have tried in the Sudan since independence had failed to involve the Sudanese people in active participation that why they all ended with a revolution or overthrow of it. Perhaps one of the reasons was the absence of the application of proper formula for the power and wealth sharing to suit the characteristics and advantages of the Sudan .

The conference has examined the experiences of many countries such as Nigeria, India, Switzerland in an attempt to use it to address the issues and basic problems in the Sudan like the issue of national unity, political stability and the fight against the underdevelopment and development and the creation of political structures and the suitable administrative bodies to serve the country and see the features of the appropriate political philosophy to achieve effective public participation .The most important thesis was the adoption of federal system for the management of the Sudanese state as one of the options to solve the national problem. In 4th February 1991 the forth constitutional decree of 1991 was published which abolished the law of regional autonomy of the year 1972, and the law on regional government of the year 1980, and the law of the national capital of 1983 .

The government began to divide Sudan into nine states, and subsequently amplified it to twenty six states in order to reduce the administrative load and to bring the decision-making positions closer. The government has given authority and the inherent constitutional powers to the local councils and state to take decisions and implement them without the interference from any quarter represent evident of handing over the power to the people to participate . As a result we find the political and social mobility has increased at the state level and rural areas in all parts of Sudan. The situation is reflected at the level of popular participation of citizens. The federal system gave the legal personality to the local councils and has ensured its power and authority to make the decisions that it deems appropriate, and implemented without the intervention of state authorities or the Federal Government, thus the local councils took themselves the task of planning and investment spending on development projects and the services sector, such as electricity, water, and the financing of production inputs of improved seeds and tractors, as well as the purchase of grain mills, which bring prosperity and development, and of course, was to be in the past, without travel to Khartoum to obtain the ratification of the ministries and jurisdictions, which cost the citizens a lot of trouble and suffering .
Thanks to the implementation of this flexible policies people are able to watch TV in El-Daein. Umkadada province which is considered as one of the poorest councils in Darfur was able to maintain to monitor a budget of four hundred million pounds to resolve the problem of water which were collected from 50% popular support .The federal system made the states become governed by their citizens. We find many political parties in Sudan, calling for the implementation of decentralized governance and as a suitable option to solve the national problem and the preservation of the Sudanese State.

Advantages and challenges of Adopting Federal System
Federalism is not always the best, and there is no best version of federalism. Federalism seems particularly to suit democracies with very large populations or territories or with highly diverse populations that are regionally concentrated. Over time federalism requires a significant part of the population to have a sense of identity with the whole country as well as lively and engaged political communities at the regional level .
It is necessary to clarify that the age of the application of federalism is not old enough in Sudan as compared with the other countries where Federal system was established over the decades and centuries, however the duration of its existence and what it has produced must be assessed to elucidate the reality as it is. One of its main advantages is that it has increased public participation, and political awareness and the awareness of rights and sometimes the demand for them by the people who constitute the regions; not only that but also the longing of the margins to govern the centre . It also led to the emergence of regional and provincial motives that positively seek for development of its regions, and to demand the centre to participate in this development.

We observe that moving at basic level and the smallest consolidation contributes to the enhancement of the basic local affiliation, rather than to consolidate the bonds of national unity. this led to the emergence of a general feeling that the centre is marginalizing these regions and dominating the local units. It reflects that the people of these regions, especially of non-Northern Territory almost has no role in the national policy of the State, This made federalism appears as if it has contributed to the revival of regional tendency which desire to play a key role in the central government, instead of contributing to the consolidation of social peace and to increase the national trend at the macro level.

The erroneous application of the spirit of federalism at the local level led to the conception that local elites in order to progress, it requires enthusiasm and comply with the orders and the instructions issued by the super authorities, and this turned the relationship between the public committees and local authorities to a relationship of a hierarchical relationship of a nature of blind obedience .

Although racial system exists in Sudan and federalism is applied too, however in light of this situation emerged racial segregation prejudices appeared densely, despite the intensity and the recognition that ethnic disagreement is not the main reason for the conflict but the presence of these ethnic disagreements with the lack of awareness made the federal system as if it has contributed to the reactivation of these racial disagreements and show them to the surface. The political system applies Federalism at the federal level, in spite of this it intervene in the affairs of the states and the appointing of their leaders, with paying attention to the intensity of ethnic groups within one state , consequently this led to a sense of injustice and marginalization from the rest of the groups inhabiting the same state. This originate conflicts between ethnic groups among local governments and appears to have been directed many of the events in the Locality of located in eastern Sudan, which was administrated to Gadarif State in the 1990s. As a result of the sharp conflict between the Arab and the African groups in the region and an fear of the Arab groups of the increasing of African group, they have submitted Wad Alhilaio to Kassala State because of the existence of the same ethnic composition in that area, and Wad Alhilaio became an administrative unit of Kassala State instead of Gadarif State. This reflects the vision that the local government has contributed to the intensity of these prejudices, I do believe that the final outcome of this conflict is a conflict of interests and fear among the parties of which party will take the control of the region.

The experiment of applying federalism to the federal states in the Sudan after the trying of regional government or a decentralized federal government, the people of Sudan agreed that the federal decentralized or regional rule, as opted for a presidential system of government with some modifications is appropriate for them, there is no political party in the Sudan in its assess governance in Sudan, the central one ,everyone calls for decentralization and federalism in the government of Sudan although this may disagree on the degree of decentralization, which should be granted for the states ., and I think that the ruling party has taken a step forward in the federal trial, and tried to make it fearless , however, that had a negative impact experience, especially when curtailed the right of the state in the recruitment and selection, and the law is not clear in state share of national income, this has led to shortcomings in the federal eroded and weakened the sense of the role so people wishing to return to Central.

When the salaries were late, some of the employees especially the teachers began to demand for their wages because the wages are not paid up by Federal Central government institutions, the low level of the educational foundation, and is still demanding the parents of a central reservation in the education foundation of the school environment degradation and reservation schools of mismanagement, which in many areas of the States made them to abandon their education, especially education of girls was affected by these procedure; at least, to preserve the status level of educational administrators at the state level and not left to the local circumstances of the state. when the spread of corruption in state bodies, official and local resources become milking cows for some spoilers and corrupt state ministries and the looting of sites for senior staff, and incentives now in the ministries and localities without the any task and I think that the Federal Government was aware of these negative aspects of the Federal government instititutions. The government did not give government authorities directives that enable them to control tyranny and the weakening of mandates of the offices and replacing the powers that the selection of the men closest to him, Dr. Ali Al-Hajj and other ministers to the Cabinet should thus be assessed by the experience, but unfortunately this does not happened. Dr. Ali Al-Hajj without any legal power given to him, arranges for the selection of governors and governors advised the selection of ministers.
Some people consider the federal and decentralized governance as a grave mistake and he has arguments are to keep the country united and the most important of these arguments:
A - The Sudan, in most times, has been a unified central control, despite the slowness of transportation and poor means of communication and today the call for decentralization is rising in spite of the huge development that has occurred in the areas of transportation and communication, which destroys the argument of the difficulty in ruling a vast area like Sudan centrally.
B - The experiment of regional government has shown that decentralization did not lead to the transfer of power to the country's various sites, but created centers for regional power in their regional and provincial capitals. It is obvious that the regional governments plundered the base units like local committees, its power and focused their authorities in their capitals. This underlines the conflict that erupted in the states over the choice of their capitals.
C – The demand of the people of the provinces were not - as they say - about the right to govern themselves, but their right to participate in the governance of the whole country (the central authority), and their equitable share of national wealth for example, focused in the center of the country. Hence, it can not be said that the empowerment of the people of each province to rule themselves by themselves in response to their demand to participate in the governance and the wealth of the whole country.
D- Moving towards Federalism was not accompanied by any try to restore the division of national wealth, knowing that the capital and the central region - which comprise 30% of the population - have 70% of the GNP.
E- The states have adopted the budgets of ongoing earnings of self-represented 67% of the total expenses of the northern states and 11% of the expenses of the southern states for the fiscal year 1994/1995 .
In the Sudan during the last years, an idea of diversity recognition was prevailed, as it is the main way of coexistence and development, so it remains the unique proposal of intellectuals and activists to divide the country into states and districts even into tribes and more simple than that. While the situation deteriorates rapidly and the new is rich of tribal conflicts, then we become unaffected by these news not emotionally nor politically .
From the political practice in the Sudan and other newly created countries, it appeared that the system trends to two types of federal political practices, mainly due to the nature of political system and philosophy of governance. The totalitarian regime – even with its diversified class – usually trends to what we called it (federal participation) which is a type of mobilization to provide a public cover for the regime to compensate the lack of legitimacy. Thus, the administrative organs and federal structures became means of exploitation by the regime to spread it’s policy, but the other functionality of this federalism will become in the second place, which usually show the lack of seriousness and political deception. Unfortunately, all decentralization patterns in Sudan come within the totalitarian regime (1972 – 1980 1994) and did not leave this pattern, which appears clearly in current federal regime.

The second pattern of federalism which we could called it (partnership federation) which usually trends to the compromise between different national entities and agree with constant principles that believed by population, but this type of federalism cant survive except in a high atmosphere of free political liberalism and legitimate that makes the citizens agree to it’s basic constituents, because this (legitimacy and national accord) is the only quarantine to achieve such federalism and to control the performance which did not happen in Sudan till now .


Conclusion
If federalism and decentralization are the important mechanism for multicultural, multi linguistic and multiethnic communities, it is important for such communities to be aware of safe federalism application with out affecting structure of the country.Leaders of countries are responsible of raising awareness of federalism among the public as suitable choice and should not let it for those of caprices, personal benefits and tribalism.

What happened in Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and some developing countries is a fragmentation of clusters of countries was not able to unite naturally and effectively. Thus, what is happening in Sudan, unless resolved democratically, it threatens the unity of country. This can be seen from the claims of more authority from state peripherals and emerge of armed movement confronting central government in Darfur where the ethnic factor plays the main role.

The public complain of two problems centralization of administrative and economical activities by the centre, which generated the calls for separation and then led to decentralization as a solution for centralization where the authority and wealth are concentrated. On other hand, this mean the comprehensive peace was not achieved yet, although, federal system was applied and South and East problems were solute, but Darfur conflict still persists,wht is reason?Federalism hasn’t a defect as a method of government except the problem is at transition from theory to application like the partial application of federalism and leaving it’s others principles as in Sudan where there is a long distance between theory and application.

The imperfect application of federalism or for benefits of certain parties will vacuum federalism from ethical and legal constituents. The leaders must be fair and serious of Sudanese people advantage more than party advantage and political benefits.The application of federalism in Sudan is incorrect where the term and concept of federalism was abused with selective engagement and political conflicts even inside the single party which usually due to strong traditional concepts and state modernity.

In recommendation, office of Federal Government is responsible to raise certain standards to select the constitutional and administrative leaderships in the concerned state; such standards must not be compromise, tribal or regional. The selection should depend on standards not on full commitment for the ruling party so as not to repeat the previous mistakes. Southern people usually complain because they have some illiterate ministers in South government so standards are special desires because we insist of multilateral system with suitable standards away from corrupted commitments, missions.

To raise interest in federal studies in academic fields and raise public awareness the government may construction an academy of federal governance of constitutional, executive and popular training. It is also the importance to determine the academic and work experience of government officials, ministers and local government officers before they are appointed. Federal experience can be considered as a forward step, to achieve it completely we need to take into account the independence of Sudan, to learn from the previous experiences and avoid mistakes and drawbacks of the past.

Bibliography:
1 -Abdulaziz.h.Alsawei, Democratic wellness is gradually: India, USSR, Burma, Alahdath Newspaper, Vol 597, and Tu.23June2009
2- Abedngo Akok Kacuol, implementation of the federalism in the Sudan, Sudan currency printing press
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