African studiesPolitical studies

Theoretical analysis of local government and civil administration in Darfur-western Sudan, in the past and present

Theoretical analysis of local government and civil administration in Darfur-western Sudan, in the past and present.

Adil Hassan Ibrahim1, Dr Titin2

1Master of government affairs and administration, University of Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta: Email: . Address: JI Ringroad, Bantul, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

2Department of government affairs and administration, college of government studies, University of Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta: email:

*Corresponding author: Adil Hassan Ibrahim.

Abstract: This article discusses the local government and civil administration in Darfur Region, western Sudan. The purpose of this study is to find out the system of local government and civil administration in Darfur region western-Sudan in the past and present time. This paper depends on literature review and uses descriptive approach. Data and information of this work has been gathered from different sources such as books, journals, newspapers. The results show that civil administration today is weak and faces a lot of challenges and threats, politically and socially. In the past civil administration in Darfur was independent administrative body, but today, it has influenced by politics.  The paper starts with the definition of local government, objectives of local government and why the local government is needed. Furthermore, the paper argues shortly the experiences of the main Darfur states, namely; Northern, Southern and Western Darfur state. The paper is not only discussing the local government, but also civil administration and its link with the local government in Darfur.

Keywords: local governance, civil administration, Darfur states, Darfur localities.

  1. Introduction:

 Local government is the public administration of counties, districts, regions, cities and towns. This level of government involves both municipal and county structures of government. The entities must work side by side in order to administrate a certain geographical area (Dugger, 2020) {1}. While the civil administration in Sudan is defined as a community-based society system that aims to regulate peaceful coexistence, monitor services, resolve conflicts and rule of law according to customs and foster friendly relations between tribal areas of contact. The civil administration in Sudan contributes to maintaining security, stability and represents the true guarantor of implementing the provisions of the civil agreements between the tribes and individuals(Ali, 2019) {2}.

      The significance of this paper is that, it identifies the past and the present of local government and civil administration in Darfur-Sudan because both of them subjected to the change from time to time according to the regimes that ruled or ruling Sudan and the legislations that organize the system since the independence till today. Local government and civil administration have been very emerging area of researches and studies.(AlShafie, 1999) {3}, stated that   Sudan has known the system of local government since the Fung Kingdom, the period of Turkish-Egyptian rule(1821- 1885), the establishment of the Mahdist state and at the beginning of the new history of Sudan with the British-Egyptian colonization that started in 1898-1956. Sudan is one of the oldest African countries known Decentralization, this was even before the formation of Sudan with its present borders, as it was in the period of a kingdom Sennar, the country was divided into regions and sheikhdoms governed by the (sheikhs of tribes) under the authority of Sinnar kings.

          During the period of the state of Muhammad Ali Pasha, the country is divided into the regions, any region is governed by Hikimdar. In the Mahdi period their country is divided into Emirates, any emirate is led by Prince. and during the period of English and The Egyptian the country was divided into Provinces and Districts The goal of these administrative divisions is to ensure the security and system, in addition to the proper management of these regions and districts (Salahdin Babiker mohamed, 2016) {4}. The gap that this study fills is the system of local government and civil administration in Darfur region in the present and past, this study is unique due to the title which dealing with both civil administration and decentralization in Darfur district western Sudan. But previous studies concentrated on different fields of local government as (Mohamed, 2016) conducted a study that was focus on the assessment of local government in states of Sudan.

                ( Local government and federalism) was a study conducted by (Abdelmajid, 2004) {5}. Also,(Salim, 2013) {6}, discussed the system of federal decentralization in Sudan , The study concluded that there are many gaps and weaknesses, most notably the ambiguity and overlapping of the distribution of powers and prerogatives between National and state power, and the absence of a clear criterion for differentiation between them, especially in the table of joint authorities, which led to sharp conflicts between levels of government and the confusion regarding the status of local government. Therefore, this study tries to find out the system of local government and civil administration particularly in Darfur region Western Sudan and to identify the effect of each other. The questions that raising are: what is the role of local government in Darfur? How the civil administration and local government influence one another?   Civil administration chiefs in past were independent and do not influenced by government politics but, today it has affected by political decisions and political loyalties, therefore it missed the neutrality and independency. Furthermore, in the past from 1927 up to 1989 the chief of the tribe was chosen by the members of tribe. But, today government influence play role in   choosing the leaders of the tribes in Darfur Region, western Sudan.

2.literature review:

 2.1. concept of local government:

Local government is a method of government that is always at the base of the pyramid of the state. One of its aims is to address disparity. It has several definitions that we choose from which the United Nations has adopted, which reads (the term local government refers to political units in the state established by law, which have the authority to administer local affairs, including the power to impose taxes, the local governing body is either elected or appointed or both). also, it has defined as: Local government is a government administrative unit that has rule of law, a legislative and executive body and has the power to impose taxes and authorize an independent budget, and it can implement its decisions by force of law. This government operates in a small geographic region in a society characterized by homogeneity, customs, values ​​and traditions {7}

2.2. characteristics of local government:

Those interested in this field, point out that any sound system of local government should have characteristics that are the basis for extracting from multiple definitions, formulated in following points: 1. The existence of a law according to which it specifies resources, powers and prerogatives. 2. The presence of a geographically defined area with a degree of population. 3. The presence of an elected or appointed governing body, or both, concerned with policymaking. 4. Existence of executive bodies concerned with implementing public policies. 5. Having an independent budget that enables the exercise of powers and the implementation of policies. {8}.

2.3. causes of creating of local government units:

The efforts of scholars and researchers did not stop only when studying the characteristics of local government, but went beyond that to study the reasons and justifications for establishing its units, which were outlined in: 1. Ensuring freedom in local areas to detonate the energies of its members for the benefit of the group. 2. Create appropriate and favourable organization, for which the effectiveness of group work is achieved. 3. Closer cooperation between the public and governmental efforts in performing the necessary services of a local character. {9}

2.4. Aims of local government:

The main objectives of local government are summarized in two main objectives:(1). Providing services and local development. (2). Engagement of citizens in power. The two goals are important and complementary to each other, which are indispensable to each other. The first indicates briefly the economic and developmental dimension of local governance (development). The second refers to popular and political participation briefly (democracy). The two points achieve the goals and objectives of local government.

              Briefly, local governance is a governance method used to address disparity, working to achieve popular participation in order to move it to integrate with official efforts. Their complementarity enables local citizens to solve their problems, and facilitates the provision of services, thus, contributing to the development of local communities {10}. Also, there is another classification of the objectives of local government as (1) political objectives: 1. Achieving the principle of democracy in governance at the local level by expanding the door for popular participation of citizens to manage their affairs themselves.

  1. Training local leaders to participate in political work and graduation to work at the highest level. 3. Developing a spirit of responsibility and achieving cooperation among citizens to support the efforts of the state and positive participation in developing their local community. (2) Administrative objectives: 1. Increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the government administration in performing its local tasks. 2. Simplifying procedures and ensuring speedy decision-making, achieving local development and providing services of a quality that satisfies the citizen. 3. Coordination of the popular effort with the effort of the central government to achieve development and prosperity in the locality. (3) Economical objectives: include 1. Supporting the state’s effort in economic and social development by equitable distribution of resources at the national and local levels.
  2. Establishing the principle of self-reliance and popular contribution to development, upgrading services and local development. 3. Reducing the cost of local services and projects and reducing government spending. (4) Social objectives: involve 1. Promote national unity and support nation-building by recommending a sense of belonging to the local community, rejecting racism and tribal allegiances, and strengthening the social fabric. 2. Achieving citizen satisfaction by responding to its requirements and achieving social development. 3. The local community’s knowledge of its rights and duties.

2.5. Local governance, under central legislations in Darfur:

Specialists unanimously agree that Sudan Local Government Law of 1951 created councils with adequate financial resources and powers and prerogatives consistent with human and financial resources {11}. In its shadow, from the perspective of Darfur, six councils were established {12}, which are the City Council and Suburbs of El Fasher (El Fasher), the Rural Council of South Darfur (Nyala), the Rural Council of East Darfur (Umm Kadada), the Rural Council of West Darfur (Zalingei), and the Rural Council of North Darfur (Kutum) and the rural council of Dar Masalit (El Geneina).

               Most studies on this law indicate that the balance of powers and prerogatives on the one hand, and financial, human and material resources on the one hand, was the direct cause of the good performance of these councils financially and administratively, and the South Darfur Rural Council is among the councils whose revenues exceed their expenditures with a surplus {13} that supports The central treasury to fill the financial deficit in other councils. This situation remained what it was, until the issuance of the Local People’s Government Law 1971,{14} which was aiming to:(1). Modernizing the administrative structures and enabling those in charge of it to accommodate the needs of citizens and effecting change in the content of social life.

             (2). Popular participation to focus the principle of popular rule and the power of the people. On the basis of this, the aforementioned law established the executive people’s councils in the directorates, under each number of local government councils, thus, creating a fundamental change in the structure of the previous local government. In this direction, the Law on Re-division of Directorates 1974 was issued, whereby the Darfur Directorate was divided, as most of the directorates, into two directorates in North and South Darfur {9} in each Executive People’s Assembly with financial and administrative powers and prerogatives, including the authority to establish local people’s councils in regions, cities and rural areas. This was followed by the creation of many in each district, each working under his authority and under his supervision and direction {15}.

             This situation remained the same until the year 1980. The application of the regional rule created the regions, according to which Darfur became a region. These councils, each like an independent unit, has powers, prerogatives, and financial resources transferred to it from the level of the directorate, including the authority to establish lower governing units from them {16}. In Darfur, there were thirteen regional councils at that time. The councils of regions continued to perform their duties until the April 1985 uprising and then the transitional period, passing through the second democracy, until the coming of the national rescue revolution in June 1989.

          In 1991 , the fourth constitutional decree {17} establishing the federal government was issued, in the shadow of which the Local Governance Law 1991  was issued as the first law for local government under the federal rule, it praises this law, that besides its designation of three types of councils (municipalities, cities, rural areas) also worked To organize its establishment by linking it to federal and state directives {18}, this matter organized the councils, limiting the establishment of many of them, and making existing ones effective units capable of providing services and development. In the year 1994, the tenth constitutional decree was issued, according to which the states were divided into twenty-six states instead of nine. As a result, Darfur was divided into three states (North, South and West Darfur) {19}.

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               Subsequently, the Local Government Act 1995 was issued, which aimed at further decentralization to start amending the name of local government units from councils (municipality, cities and rural areas) to localities (cities and rural areas) and made the matter of establishing them, a state affair {20} Besides that came with encouraging construction standards {21} For more localities, this has resulted in an increase in the number of localities, not only in Darfur but in the whole of Sudan, Later on, the Local Governance Law 1998  was issued, which notes that it followed in its previous steps in support decentralization, both of them supported the principle of establishing many localities in the states. The state of South Darfur, for example, the localities established there in mid-1999 was (43) local {22}.

         In the year 2002 , a conference was held to evaluate and reform the experience of federal governance {23} Carrying many of its variables in  folds {24}, starting with its abolition of the name of a governor and a provincial replaced by (Muatamed) and a locality, making the establishment of localities depend on the presidential decree which issues by the President of the Republic, consulting the state government with the aim of restricting their establishment, specifying an organizational and administrative structure for each, specifying membership in their local councils, between (20 to 30) members, reducing the life of the local council to three years, briefly highlighting the coming into existence of a new pattern for managing local government units. This law remained in effect until the promulgation of the 2005 Interim Constitution, which gave states the power to issue their own laws and regulated laws, including local government.

  1. local government under state legislations, states experiences of Darfur:

The Interim Constitution of the Republic of Sudan of 2005, in its fourth chapter, which is entitled Decentralized Governance System, it explained that Sudan is a decentralized state in which the levels of government are the national level, the level of the southern government, the level of state governance and the level of local government {25}.The state according to the provisions of the Constitution is a level of government that has its legislative, executive and judicial organs performing its duties in accordance with its provisions, and also has its own constitution for its affairs {26}. The following is the local government that the state promotes and strengthen {27}, and it is a state matter regulated in accordance with the constitution of the state concerned, based on this, all states deliberately issue their constitutions and legislations regulating their affairs, including local government. The following pages below refer to the experiences of Darfur states under states legislations.

2.1. West Darfur state experience (number of localities and local councils).

By this, we mean the state of West Darfur established by the tenth constitutional decree of 1994. The following are the local rulings that stated in its constitution: (Local government in the state shall implement  law to be a basic administrative level of government in the state with powers and prerogatives, aimed at extending services and development and caring for the rights of citizens with rational management, and the organization and performance of local governments will be the responsibility of the state government, and the law shall determine all the issues necessary for the establishment of local government) {28}.

           The following shows the status of the local government in the state constitution, and let’s see from a distance how many localities are established, the participation systems, then the powers, prerogatives and resources. In this state until January 2012, the date of the establishment of the state of Central Darfur (Zalingei), the number of localities were sixteen {29}. The establishment of the state of Central Darfur necessitated the designation of (8) eight localities, which were known as the eastern localities as components for them. As for, the following local legislative councils, the study showed that it was not formed in the past years, all powers and prerogatives remained in the hands of the executive branch, and this continued until early March 2010 , where steering committees were formed, a committee in each locality in which the membership ranged between (8 and 15) Member {30}.

2.2. South Darfur State Experience (number of localities and local councils).

By this, we mean the state established by this name in the tenth constitutional decree of 1994. When the local government law was implemented in 2003 , the number of localities established in this state reached nine localities, which have been increasing, reaching at the beginning of the year 2010 to thirty localities {31} and remained the same until January 2012, the date of the establishment of the State of East Darfur (Ad-Daein).The geographical borders of the state of East Darfur included a number  nine localities, on the other side, the borders of the state of South Darfur in its new situation after January 2012 AD included the number of twenty one locality. As for, the local legislative councils have not been formed in this state, whether in its previous or current status.

2.3. North Darfur State experience (number of localities and local councils).

The current number of the existing localities in this state is eighteen {32}, they have remained for a long time without Legislative Councils, in the past few months, Legislative Councils have been formed by appointment. It is the only state among Darfur states, that have local legislative councils representing the citizens to achieve their participation in the authority and monitor the executive performance in this basic level of government. Briefly The existing localities in the states of Darfur in September 2013 can be shown as following: (1). West Darfur state has eight localities and steering committees, appointed. (2). Central Darfur state has eight localities and appointed steering committees. (3). South Darfur State has twenty-one localities but no local councils and committees. (4). East Darfur State has nine localities and There are no local councils and committees. (5) North Darfur State has eighteen localities and local councils by appointment. Note: Total of localities is sixty-four.

                                           Source: writer

2.4.  Division of localities in Darfur Region- western Sudan:

According to the laws of local governance of the states of Darfur, we note that both contained a classification of localities with the possibility of reclassification and transfer from one level to another according to the urban, economic and social development. It is noted from this classification that, it is not identical in the states, North Darfur State as an example, the establishment of localities are classified into four, they are; localities of municipalities, localities of cities, rural localities and nomadic localities {34}. As for, the state of West Darfur, has been classified into two; localities of cities and rural localities.

2.5 Experiences of the three states in powers, prerogatives and resources.

The powers and prerogatives mentioned in Chapter Three in the local government laws of the three states considering them indicate a high degree of congruence {35}, largely updating what can be described as one type of law. Also, in consideration of Chapter Seven, financial provisions (financial resources for localities) {36}, there is also a great convergence in the components of financial resources for localities. Based on it, it can be said that defining the powers, prerogatives and resources did not take into consideration the urban, economic and social development of the localities, but rather it came in one package for all localities, as follows:(1). Terms of reference: I. The locality is mainly concerned with providing services and improving the social, living and development conditions of the inhabitants of the region. II. The locality exercises the powers assigned to it in its founding order, the urgent schedules, and any other powers conferred on it by law. III. The localities are committed to transparency, institutional performance, the foundations of good governance, counsel and popular participation in their overall performance in an effort to find appropriate solutions to citizen issues and rationalize resources. (2).

             Powers: The locality exercises the authorities specified in the table under the heading (Local Authorities and Municipalities) that includes engineering affairs, health, education, agriculture, natural resources and animal wealth, social and cultural affairs (local government law model, North Darfur State, 2006 AD). Any other law. (3). Resources: To enforce these powers and prerogatives, the financial resources are identified, which represent in the following: I. Local taxes and fees such as returns, herds, clays, cabarets, licenses, fees and other related funds. II. A percentage of state taxes and fees. III. Other sources such as state support, grants, and returns on investments. The effectiveness of local government bodies in the past came through the definition of terms of reference, powers and resources that are compatible with urban, economic and social development. The current reality indicates a great variation in the capacities of localities, especially in light of the policy of establishing many of them. It is known that each locality is concerned with achieving two main objectives: (1) Providing services, development and supervision at the local level (development).(2) Engaging citizens in power (popular / political / democratic participation). The trend to create more localities has led to a shortening of the administrative shadow and an increased sense of popular, political (democratic) participation.

             However, on the other hand, it resulted in a reduction of the geographical area and a decrease in the number of the population forming the locality. The economic feasibility of locality and its ability to provide services and promote development projects depends on the population factor in terms of number and the quantity and quality of economic activities. The small population in the localities, with which to read the nature of the fluctuating economic activity between traditional agriculture and grazing, has led to weak revenue. What many localities in the states of Darfur, like other localities in Sudan, suffer from weakness in providing services and their inability to stimulate local development is read with a permanent need for financial support from the state government. It is cultivation or grazing, both of which can be described traditionally, this is from a financial perspective.

              On the other side, the large expansion in the number of localities also highlighted an increasing need for qualified and trained human resources (administratively and technically) to work in them, and also highlighted the need for job aids, which are represented in the means of movement and in devices, machinery and equipment. Make a comparison between the need for financial and material resources on the one hand, and the need for human cadres on the other hand. Reality refers to the following fact, despite the scarcity of financial resources that states suffer from, but it can be said that providing financial support to localities despite its difficulty can be achieved in a relatively short time, and that the provision of assistive devices can be achieved in a little longer than its predecessor, but that the matter The provision of qualified or trained human cadres requires a long time, either because of scarcity or because of the time factor required for qualification and training, and keeps the following questions before us: In the localities and in light of this current situation:

                 How can localities reconcile the provision of services and development on the one hand and achieve popular participation on the other? With the scarcity of financial resources, how can the developmental role of the local community be promoted to advance the local community?  From the perspective of the current number of localities, how is coordination between them in order to enter into projects with benefits extending to more than one locality? On the other side, a careful reading of the general map of the localities in one of its forms highlights images that see the tribal dimension, such a situation is taken on, the inability of these units of government to help in achieving social interaction between citizens. The question remains: What is the impact of that?

  1. The experience of South Darfur State compared to Khartoum State.

The state of Khartoum, according to the 2008 census, had a population of 5,274,321 people {37}. This number equals 13% of the population of Sudan. It has seven localities that were established under the Local Government Law 2003, which are Khartoum, Jabal Awliya, Khartoum North, East Nile, Omdurman, Umm Bida, and Karary locality. It remained so to date under its 2007 Local Government Law. The state of South Darfur, according to the same census, has a population of 4,093,594 people {38}, or 10% of the population of Sudan. Local government units in it started in 2003, with nine localities, Nyala, Al Daein, Adila, Bram, Tulus, Ad-Forsan, Rahaid Al-Bardi, Kass and Sheariya. New localities have been established, which are Al-Salam, east of the Marra mountain, and the Arabian Sea reached (12) local, then rolled up to reach In January / February of the year 2010, there were (30) localities. In this regard, the following fact can be proven.

              South Darfur State is not the only multi-locality, but it is the highest. There are states, for example, Southern Kordofan State in its current state after the establishment of West Kordofan State. The number of localities established are (16) localities {39}, it is a number approximately North Darfur State and a number coincide with the states of West and Central Darfur. The question remains: Why are many localities in these states? The answers according to the author opinion return back to: (1) Making the matter of establishing localities a state affair in the absence of any federal measures that regulate or set a higher ceiling for the states. (2) States do not fulfil the standards of establishment of localities in letter and spirit. (3) The proportional centralization of powers in the local area and the non-delegation of administrative units. (4) The states which are under study, lack the infrastructure and citizens are unable to reach the local council, except on certain days, which are the weekly market days. Failure to delegate administrative units is always necessary to refer to the local head. Thinking and walking in the direction of demanding the establishment of a locality remains the only option for resolving this dilemma. (5) Multiple other reasons.

  1. Methodology:
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This Qualitative research has  used descriptive approach, in orderto gain deep information and further understanding of  system of local government and civil administration in Darfur region western Sudan in the present time and past time. Data and information of this work have gathered from different sources particularly secondary data sources that represent in books, journals, newspaper, government reports, websites and other documents that are relevant to the title.  Darfur is a region located in the western part of Sudan, its area is estimated to be one fifth of the country, and it is bordered by three countries: from the north by Libya, from the west by Chad, and from the southwest by Central Africa, as well as adjacent to some Sudanese regions such as Bahr Al Ghazal and Kordofan from the east. Darfur region is divided administratively into five states: North Darfur, its capital, El Fasher, South Darfur, its capital, Nyala, West Darfur, its capital, El Geneina, East Darfur, its capital, El Daein, and Central Darfur, its capital Zalingei. The reason for its name being given is due to the Fur tribe, and Darfur means the Fur homeland, it is one of the largest tribes in the region.

                  The region is characterized by a large animal wealth consisting of camels, sheep and cows, and this wealth was affected when the drought hit the region in the early seventies of the last century. The population is approximately 7.5 million, according to a 2008 census(, 2014).{40} Darfur is inhabited by a large number of tribes that are divided into two groups: “settled tribes” in rural areas such as: the Fur, the Masalit, the Zaghawa, the Daju, the Tongur, and the Tama, in addition to the “nomadic tribes” that move from one place to another such as: Abala, Mahamid, and Mahri , Bani Husayn, Rizeigat, and Ma’ali. The settled tribes speak local languages ​​in addition to Arabic, and some of them are Arabs, while the majority of nomadic tribes are Arabs and speak Arabic (Coetzee, 2009) {41}.

Darfur was an independent Islamic kingdom ruled by a number of sultans, the last and most famous of whom was Ali Dinar. The region was under a federal government in which tribal leaders ruled their regions, until the fall of this regime during the Ottoman rule. The people of Darfur resisted the ten-year Turkish rule, and during this period several revolutions took place, the most famous of which was the Harun Revolution that Gordon Pasha eliminated in 1877. When the Mahdist Revolution ruled, the princes rushed to pledge allegiance to and support for the Mahdi until independence gained after the success of the Mahdist Revolution. The independence of the region did not last long, as it fell again under the rule of Mahdia in 1884, which found violent resistance until the Mahdia fell in 1898, and Sultan Ali Dinar returned to rule Darfur. At the outbreak of World War I, the Sultan of Darfur supported the Ottoman Empire, which was the center of the Islamic caliphate. This angered the Governor-General of Sudan, and ignited enmity between the Sultanate and the central authority, the result of which was to overthrow the Sultanate of Darfur and annex it to Sudan in 1917(, 2014) {42}.

  1. Results and discussions:

4.1. Civil administration in Darfur:

The results show that, civil administration emerged as an alternative system for switching from direct to indirect rule, through which administrative, security and judicial powers were transferred from the British rulers to the tribal leaders. The civil administration was established according to a package of laws {43} issued between 1922 and 1927, including the Law of the Sheiks courts powers of Nomadic tribes in 1922, the Law of the Senate powers 1927, and the Law of the Courts of Chiefs in 1931 that repealed the previous laws, giving judicial powers to the chiefs.

4.2. Structure and duties

The civil administration was built on a three-tiered structure, its purpose was to organize and to manage well the tribe, the three levels can be shown as following: (1).Names of the leader of the civil administration, is differs from one tribal system to another, there is the Sultan, Al Nazer, the king, Al Makdom, Al Dimingawi, the shartai, the prince, and so on. This leadership and administrative position agree with tradition of tribes. the leader is chosen by the government after a people’s opinion poll. His duties are that, he is administratively responsible to the center inspector for managing the helm of matters related to the tribe, and he has to take care of its customs and monitor, its movements and work to resolve disputes {44}, on the other side he has judicial powers empowered under the Presidents Courts Law 1930.

             (2). The mayor’s group; there is almost a general consensus about this title. The mayor is located in the temple. It comes in the middle between the leader and the sheikhs. He is at the head of a group of sheikhs, and he chooses through lengthy procedures {45}. Eventually, the contestants withdraw to remain one of them who is the most knowledgeable and knowledgeable of tribe affairs and customs, to be chosen as his mayor. His duties are to supervise the sheikhs, judicial work in case he heads a court, as well as to resolve disputes in a customary way, and to implement public announcements. (3). The group of sheikhs, is located at the base of the pyramid. The elders are chosen with the consent of the general public, often chosen from the elderly according to custom. Their tasks are to maintain security, collect taxes, implement public announcements, report health violations, seize stray animals, gather citizens for voluntary and collaborative work and customarily resolve minor conflicts.

4.3.  Activities of civil administration in Darfur:

Maintaining security and collecting the herd tax, come at the forefront of activities undertaken by the civil administration as administrative and financial tasks. There are other tasks of a service nature, which are multiple: gathering citizens to maintain internal roads, mobilizing them to extinguish fires and controlling them, organizing grazing and agricultural areas and collecting livestock for vaccination and rest care purposes. And others, these tasks were assigned to the civil administration within the framework of the administrative mandate. Reports indicate that Al-Geneina continued to be managed under the authority of Sultan Dar Masalit, who was then authorized by the Administrative Secretary under Article 10 (a) of the Local Government Law, all of his powers in the area of ​​elementary education for boys, agricultural advances and other local tasks and he had a budget {46}.

                        Here, it must be noted the leadership style that has been followed by the leaders in their management of local affairs, as the ruling was characterized by Shura, {47} by dialogue and by listening to adults in various affairs, on the other hand, the leader was the shepherd of minorities under his tribe and he is also its protector, On the third hand, the mayors and sheikhs were concerned with preserving security, resolving minor disputes, this and that prevented frictions destabilizing, on the fourth hand, the friendly method that was followed in resolving disputes helped preserve reconciliation, and above all, the citizen was supportive, helpful and responsive to directives. This fascinated the leadership  which made leaders symbols and figures whose history recorded many leadership positions in settling disputes, in solving problems, and in other ways, its echo remained with the days.What is surprising and impressive is the efforts that were made in  preparing tribal conferences known as Zaffa (Sbdu al-Daein as a model). These conferences are one of the effective methods to strengthen the  ties between the tribes, which is an arena for conflict resolution and a climate that is prepared to exchange experiences and trails.

4.4.  Civil administration and financial entitlements.

Studies show that all leaders of tribes, were receiving monthly salaries, a percentage of which the central government supports, and the local government units bearing the largest share of that, as well as the willful case. Shiekhs were obtaining salaries according to their collection of taxes, their rewards started 10% and increased reaching 15% {48}.

4.4. The civil administration and its relationship with local government in Darfur.

The civil administration, as mentioned earlier, it was originated in the year 1927. As for, the local government in Sudan, it originated for the first time under the laws of local government in 1937 {49}. therefore, it can be said that the civil administration preceded the local rule in terms of origin. With its structure, tasks, and activities, the Civil Administration remained active when it was established, performing its tasks in various parts of Sudan, particularly rural areas such as Darfur, Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Eastern Sudan. The matter created a rapprochement with the local government, each was complementary to the other, the civil administration was finding its ability with state employees in general and local government in particular, as inspectors and council officers used to help them in maintaining security, and in collecting money specifically the herd tax because they had a great knowledge balance In the count to her. Reality pointed to the efficiency of the civil administration in terms of the effort expended, the low financial cost and the high revenue yield.

                      Also, the areas that benefited from them also included reporting and information, due to the lack of media at that time, they are being used for their community communication channels that enabled this. On the other hand, the hope of the civil administration had membership in the local councils, whether by election or by appointment specifically under the Local Government Law 1951 AD, which is an order arranged for him to put the civil administration under the umbrella of local government and gain their support and to reassure the people that local government does not mean the removal or cancellation of its role {50}, But rather confirms their participation in the authority and in the performance of advanced social services (education / health) for their citizens. After attaining independence, this relationship was affected by the changes in political events, during the period from 1956   to 1969  Despite all this, the balance remained favorable to the benefit of the civil administration until the year 1969  , the coming of the May Revolution, which it resolved in the year 1970   {51}.

                         Dissolution of management is an issue that has been dealt with between supporters and opponents. The paper’s author believes that the relative stagnation in the current performance of the civil administration extends some of its roots to the solution period that spanned for nearly sixteen years from May 1969 to April 1985. After the April 1985 uprising, which was followed by a transitional period, after which the second democracy came during which the civil administration received much attention, its matter was reconsidered, as Cabinet Resolution No (253) was issued to return it {52} and authorities were given that some researchers believe were not commensurate with the development that occurred During the protracted solution period, while others see it as a support and walked ahead. In the shadow of the National Salvation Revolution 1989, the Civil Administration Law 1990 (Federal) was issued with the aim of organizing it {53}. Its issuance is recognition of this type of government. The law remained in effect until it was abolished under the Local Government Law 1998, which aimed at making the matter of organizing the civil administration a state affair, as it indicated the following (a civil administration may carry out the state and organize its structure, the eligibility of its leaders, its powers, prerogatives, levels, and relations according to the provisions of the state law) {54} Based on this, the law has gone in the direction of choosing the leaders of the civil administration by electing systems that take into consideration the Shura and local custom rules according to its provisions {55}.

                       The author believes that the law aims to repeal the 1990 Federal Law to make the civil administration a state affair in line with the decentralization that the country has organized by re-dividing the states and the consequent establishment of many localities in accordance with the construction standards in the Local Governance Law 1995  mentioned above. From the perspective of decentralization, this matter has its positives, as it is not correct for the establishment of local government units to be a state affair and for the civil administration to remain a federal affair, but the other side is that the principle of choosing the leadership of the civil administration by electing systems that take into consideration the rules of the Shura and custom is not applicable in many societies, a custom for it ,Its foundations, linking it to elections is very complicated in some societies.

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                     In the point of view  of the paper preparer, this matter is like the window that the executive branch overlooked in the internal affairs of the civil administration, bringing changes and adjustments to its structures and its leaders specifically the level of leaders and the level of mayors, its results are multiple, at its lowest levels the establishment of many civil departments with structures and leaders that added financial obligations to states and localities Without much attention to the tasks of maintaining security and collecting the herd tax. Later, in light of the transitional constitution, states were granted the right to issue their state constitutions, laws for local government, and laws for civil administration, among others. Some states adopted laws to regulate civil administration in them.

4.6. The civil Administration in the Present.

 civil administration’s present indicates points of strength in addition to weaknesses, as well as opportunities and threats, as follows:

First: The strengths, which refer to the past, are summarized as follows:(1). The civil administration is a system that has its roots in society, which was sponsored by the state through the laws that organized it and brought it into being. (2) The civil administration has a clear history, as evidenced by the legacy left by exemplary tribal leaders with their distinguished administrative, financial and judicial performance. (3) The close association of the civil administration, its support to the executive branch, and its sometimes carrying out tasks that are closer to the tasks of the local government units. (4) Keeping it safe and collecting the herd tax.

 Second: The weaknesses, which refer to the present, are summarized in the following:(1) Historical leaders were absent from the scene by the expiry of the term (death), mercy to them, replaced by leaders of their own bodies less than their predecessors. (2) The phenomenon of inheriting children as leaders has become a dominant feature of most tribes in all levels of the civil administration (leaders, mayors) and sheikhs sometimes. (3) Impact of the official role of the state by referring it, naming it, or adopting it to a specific person as a leader (headmaster, king, sultan, and so on) or pillars, making the leaders of the chosen leaders’ association with the executive agencies more than their loyalty to the societies. (4). Weak capabilities in maintaining security. (5). Failure of the Civil Administration to pay attention to collecting the herd tax. (6). Obvious tendency for the political aspect of performance. (7). The establishment or creation of new civil administrations parallel to existing and historical administrations, whether within geographical borders or without geographical boundaries.

Third: Opportunities, refer to the present, represented in the following points: (1). The civil administration, as a social and economic system, has acceptance among citizens, especially in rural societies, as it contributes to solving their multiple problems of local character. (2). The civil administration has acceptance as a mediator between the conflicting parties and sometimes warring parties, because they are familiar with customs, and traditions.

Fourth: Threats refer to the present, are summarized as follows: (1). The spread of education and awareness is a threat to traditional leaders and to the traditional style of civil administration. (2). Local government institutions (administrative units, people’s committees) are currently concerned with solving the problems of citizens and speaking their names, and the civil administration has been doing similar tasks. (3). Cases of security instability in the states of Darfur and the consequent displacement to the camps, between the civil administration and its rules. (4). The emergence of personalities who oppose the method of civil administration, whether in inheriting or complying with the directives of the executive branch, represents an internal threat that cannot be overlooked. An analytical reading of all elements (strength, weakness, opportunities and threats) clearly shows that the elements of power refer to the whole of the past, and that the elements of weakness refer to the present. On the other hand, the available opportunities are less extensive than the internal and external threats. This analysis clearly highlights the factors behind the weak efficiency and effectiveness of this system.

 Proposals from the author to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of local government and civil administration in Darfur region:

(A) Local government in Darfur.

To increase the efficiency and effectiveness of administrative units both  levels must overcome the following problems:

  1. The problem of the distribution of powers between the levels of state and local government in order to reach an optimal distribution:

It is noted that the transferred competencies of many localities did not take into account the urban, economic and social development of the communities, as government units at the municipal level, for example the municipality of Nyala, cannot be equated with a newly established locality.

  1. The problem of balance between powers and prerogatives on the one hand and financial, human and material resources on the other hand. Powers and prerogatives exceed resources.
  2. The balance between the two main goals of development services (development) on the one hand, and citizen participation in power on the other (democracy). The localities in their current state are not able to provide services to citizens or move the development work as it was before.

(B) The civil administration in Darfur:

Increasing its efficiency and effectiveness is reflected in aligning its conditions in line with the requirements of the current era. This requires an effort to reduce clamping points in addition to seeking to remove existing threats. This is achieved through the following: (1). Working to modernize the traditional leadership style to match the nature of the stage in line with the societal development. (2). Failure to automatically resort to inheriting children except in cases where there is no possibility of them, so that the umbrella does not include brotherhood, the agent or any other leading figure who is above the authority of the local administration of the tribe upon assuming its leadership. (3). Linking to the local community and its leadership in a way that achieves satisfaction.

  1. Conclusion:

This paper has discussed theoretically, the local government and civil administration in Darfur region, it showed the reasons of emerging local government, the aims of local government and the correlations of the local government with the civil administration in Darfur. Also, the paper identified the localities and the legislations which organise the relations between them. Moreover, it argued the structure of the local rule and its classifications in addition to the experiences of the old three states namely; North Darfur, South Darfur and West Darfur state. In addition to that, it contented the threats and opportunities that face the local government and civil administration in Darfur. In order to raise efficiency and effectiveness the writer suggests some statements that increase and improve the performance of local governments in Darfur region these recommendations are; equality of distribution of powers between local government and central government, to solve the problem of powers and prerogatives, the local laws must be made to demonstrate the powers and prerogatives.


{1}Abdelmajid, F. arahman. (2004). Management of local government under Federalism in Sudan.

{2} Ali, I. M. (2019). The civil administration in Sudan … a voice that rises in tribulation and drops in peace.

{3} (2014).

{4} AlShafie, M. (1999). Experience of local governance and achieving political participation.

{5} Dugger, A. (2020). What Is Local Government? – Definition, Responsibilities & Challenges.

{6} Mohamed, S. B. (2016). Local Governance in Decentralization Systems – An Assessment of State Experiences in Sudan from 2006-2015.

{7} Salim, M. A. (2013). Constitutional framework for federal decentralization in Sudan (critical vision).

{8} Henry Madic: Decentralization, Democracy & Development. Asian Publishing House, London 1975 page (7).

{9} Jum’a Muhammad Ahmad al-Kanjarari: Local Governance, Concept and Characteristics, Training Note, Sudan Academy of Administrative Sciences, Khartoum, 2005, p. (2).

 {10}  Sheikh Al-Din Yusuf Minallah: Local Governance in a Century, An Analytical Presentation of Sudan’s Experience 1899 AD 1988 AD Currency Printing Company Limited, Fifth Edition November 2003 AD (48).

 {11} Jum’a Muhammad, previously mentioned p. (2).

 {12}  The report and recommendations of the Self-Revenue Development Committee for Local and Regional Government formed according to the decision of the National Revolution Command Council No. (93) 1989 AD, April 1990, p 0.

 {13}  Abkar Omar Abkar Khalil: Finance of Local and Regional Government, Unpublished Research, Master of Public Administration, University of Khartoum, School of Administrative Sciences, Division of Public Administration, August 1987, p. (159).

 {14} The report and recommendations of the Self-Revenue Development Committee have already been mentioned p. (16).

 {15}  The same source, p. 11.

 {16}   Re-division of Districts 1974 Law No. (28) of 1974 AD Article (2D).

 {17} Local People’s Government Law 1971 AD Law No. (64) of 1971 Article (15), (1), (2).

 {18} The Regional Governance Law 1980 (Law No. 36), Section One, Article (41H)

 {19} Local People’s Government Law 1981, Section Three, Article (8) (2 1) and the second Article 7.

 {20} For more information, please see the Fourth Constitutional Decree 1991 AD Establishing Federal Judgment Chapter One Article (1).

 {21} Local Government Law 1991 AD Chapter Three Article (8) (1), (3).

 {22} For more information, please see the tenth constitutional decree of 1994 (Re-division of the states) and the twelfth 1995 (in federal relations relations) Rehabilitation of state systems (Chapter Two, Article 4).

 {23} Local Government Law 1995 AD Chapter Three Article (6) (1).

 {24} The same source, Chapter Three, Article 6 (1) (A, B, C).

 {25} Report of the General Secretariat of the Government of South Darfur State, Local Government Administration, June 1998.

 {26} For more information, please review the documents and recommendations of the conference on evaluation and evaluation of the experience of federal governance in Sudan, April 2002

{27} Local Government Law 2003 Chapter Two Article (4) (1) and Third Article (7) c and Fourth Article (16) and (17)

{28} The Transitional Constitution of the Republic of Sudan, Article (). Levels of Government

 {29} The same source is Article (178 1).

 {30} The same source as Article (1782). Question?

 {31} West Darfur Interim State Constitution of 2005, Article 87.

 {32} Local Government Administration Performance Report, West Darfur State, June 2011.

 {33} Interview with the administrative officer, Azhari Abkar Al-Naw, in his office at the Ministry of Authority Affairs, El Fasher, Monday, August 23, 2013.

{34} Performance Report of the Ministry of Local Government and Civil Service, South Darfur State, December 2010.

 {35} Local Government Administration Performance Report, North Darfur State, December 2011.

 {36} The Local Government of North Darfur Law of 2006, Chapter Two Article (5) (1) (a) (b) (c) (d).

 {37} The Local Government of South Darfur Law of 2006, Chapter Two

Article (5) (1) (2) (3).

 {37} North Darfur Local Government Law of 2006 AD, Chapter Two

Article (5) (1) (2).

 {38} For more information, please see the local government laws for the states of North, South and West Darfur, Chapter Three, under the heading Authorities and Competencies, Chapter Three, Articles (11, 12 and 13).

 {39} For more information, please see the local government laws for the states of North, South and West Darfur Chapter Seven under the heading Financial Provisions, Financial Resources for Localities Article (52) (1), (2) and (3) South Darfur State, and Article (31) (1) (2) (3) North Darfur State and Article 57 (1) (2) (3) West Darfur State.

 {40} Central Statistical Organization, Fifth Population and Housing Census, 2008. Basic Census Results, South Darfur State, page (5).

 {41} the same source, p. 5.

 {42} Al-Sahafa Newspaper Sunday, 23 Dhu al-Qi’dah 1434 AH, corresponding to September 29, 2013 No. (7240) p. (5) Formation of the government of peace and development and stability in the state of South Kordofan.

 {43} For more details, please see the laws of the nomadic tribal sheikh authorities 1922, the village courts law 1925, the law of the sheikhs authorities 1928 and the civil courts law 1931AD.

 {44} Abdulaziz Ali Karar: The Future of the National Administration in Sudan Unpublished Research, Diploma of Public Administration in Regional and Local Government, Sixth Batch 1989 AD Sudan Academy of Administrative Sciences, Khartoum 1990 AD (10).

 {45}  the same source, P 10.

 {46} Abdullah Ali Jadallah: With the administration in its career, the Muhammad Omar Bashir Center, Sudanese Studies, Khartoum 2005, p. (93).

{47} The same source, p. (129).

{48} Abdel-Aziz Ali Karar, previously mentioned, p. (10).

{49} For more information, please see the municipal government laws and for the cities and the countryside 1937 AD.

{50} Abdullah Ali Jadallah, previously mentioned p. ()

{51} Kawthar Muhammad Obaid: The National Administration in Sudan, The Spectacle Experience in Shabaraq, unpublished research, diploma of public administration in regional governance and the local, the sixth batch 1989 AD Sudan Academy of Administrative Sciences, Khartoum 1990, p. (18).

{52} For more information, please see the distinguished cabinet decision (253) On September 24, 1987 the reinstatement of the civil administration.

{53} For more information, please see the Civil Administration Law No. 1990.

{54} Local Government Law 1998, Chapter Four, Article (20).

{55} Same source, Chapter Four, Article (21).

SAKHRI Mohamed

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