29 November 2012

Sudan: Darfur MPs Threaten to Resign From National Assembly

Khartoum — At a session of the National Assembly, Darfur MPs have threatened to collectively submit their resignations if the procrastination in the construction of the Western Salvation Road continues, Radio Dabanga has learned on Wednesday November 28.

The MPs described the road as a 'myth' and renamed it to 'media and myth' road. A number of deputies stated they doubted there are any benefits to having six ministers in the Federal Government, 96 seats in the National Assembly and a Vice-President, all from Darfur, with the Western Salvation Road project at a standstill for more than 20 years. They criticized the delay in establishing the road due to finance issues and problems with companies and subcontractors.

Ahmed Abdullah Suleiman, MP, said in his deliberation: "we are ashamed to speak about the road, in vain, and we do not think that security could be an obstacle in the project, in particular after the stop in oil production and the war with Juba at its peak". Suleiman added: "either the road is completed and Darfur will remain part of Sudan, or we relieve ourselves".

Another MP, Um Bashaer Mahmoud, stated that completion of the road equals unity, as the road was one of the main reasons for the insurgency in Darfur. Emad al-Boushri, deputy of South Darfur in the National Assembly told Radio Dabanga he calls on the government to decide on reducing the airfares to Darfur, until completion of the road.

Implementation started in 1947

Ahmed Babikir Nahar, Minister of Roads and Bridges said that implementation of the road started in 1947 and explained he knows 'where the obstacles are'. He added that 'these obstacles are still present between El-Fasher, Um Kedada and Nuhud'. Additionally, the minister denied the allegations of the MPs that the delay in completion of the road is due to security issues.

The minister stressed that the delay is purely financial and added that there is only a small scope security issue, between Tabit and Shangil Tobay. He vowed that the road will reach El-Fasher in 2013, if sufficient funding is available and mentioned that Zalingei - El-Geneina sector will be completed this year.

Nahar stated he spoke to Ali Osman Taha, First Vice-President, and Al-Hajj Adam Yousef, Vice-President, last July about his willingness to complete the work in the sectors of Zalingei - El-Geneina to El-Fasher, in case $ 65 million is provided.

The minister revealed that an advance of approximately 29 billion Sudanese Pounds (SDG) has been paid to construction company Shirian al-Shimal. Also, he disclosed that the company has received another payment of 14 billion SDG, even though the project has not started yet.

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