Search

 

Cablegate: The North Feigns Census Readiness; Claims Dafurians Will

VZCZCXRO9480
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0172/01 0360636
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 050636Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9877
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000172

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, S/CRS, AF/SE WILLIAMSON
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KPKO KDEM SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: THE NORTH FEIGNS CENSUS READINESS; CLAIMS DAFURIANS WILL
PARTICIPATE FULLY

REF: (A) KHARTOUM 155

(B) KHARTOUM 114
(C) 07 KHARTOUM 1229

1. (U) SUMMARY: Under the authority of new Director Yassin El-Hag
Abdeen, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) claims that the North
is completely prepared for the April census. The director, an NCP
member with no professional background in the field, rejects any
suggestion that there are census mapping gaps in Darfur. He claims
that Dafurians, even IDPs, will participate in census enumeration
without skepticism or fear. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) On 31 January, poloff met with newly-appointed CBS Director
Dr. Yassin El-Hag Abdeen. Abdeen was formerly the Director of
Faisal Islamic Bank, Sudan Airways, and the National Electricity
Corporation of Sudan and worked at the Center for Future Studies, a
Sudanese government-supported think tank in Khartoum. He was chosen
by the Presidency just two weeks ago to replace former CBS Director
Dr. Awad Hag-Ali. This shift in general leadership in the North
comes just three and a half months before the national census is to
occur.

3. (U) Early in the meeting, former Director Awad walked in, greeted
poloff, and joined in the discussions. Poloff questioned Awad and
Abdeen as to why the switch in leadership was made and both claimed
not to know. Abdeen confessed that he was happy working at the
Center for Future Studies and seemed confused by his appointment to
the CBS. He theorized that the Presidency wanted him to "transform
the CBS" into a policy planning institution. He said his
appointment was not only about getting the census done right, but
about making sure the CBS performs on the whole for years to come.
He expressed his frustration of working with civil servants,
something he has not had to do in the past. Former Director Awad,
who was in a rather jovial mood, explained that he has returned to
El-Nilein University full-time as Vice Chancellor. He has made
himself available to CBS Director Abdeen for several weeks in order
to bring him up-to-speed.

----------------------------
UNCONVINCING DECLARATIONS
----------------------------
4. (U) Dr. Abdeen assured poloff that by mid-February, all technical
preparations for the census in the North will be in place. When
poloff asked about the worrisome issue of the lack of a presidential
decree to declare the April census date official, Abdeen claimed
"this will be done in one or two days." He added, "The decree is
ready; it can be issued by the Presidency over the phone." He
assured that "everything is in place" and that the CBS is awaiting
the official date in order to begin census advocacy campaigns over
the radio and the TV. Abdeen said that the advocacy campaigns will
be heavily targeted to rural communities.

5. (SBU) Poloff asked Abdeen what the North is going to do about the
20 percent of Darfur (corresponding to over 2 million people in IDP
camps and rebel-controlled areas) that per UNFPA cannot be mapped
due to security concerns and lack of access by government
enumerators (ref A). Abdeen strongly denied that the unmapped areas
are equal to 20 percent or over 2 million people. He said that
there are only "a few pockets" of Darfur that are unmapped and that
only the rebels live in these areas. All IDP camps, he claimed, had
been successfully mapped (although he could not explain how this was
accomplished). Rather unconvincingly, Abdeen predicted that there
will not be any problems with the census in Darfur and that
Darfurians (even IDPs) will participate. "This is the fifth census
in Sudan and the culture is not skeptical of such things." He
continued, "It is not the case that people will be unwilling to
participate."

-------------------------------------
LACK OF CONFIDENCE AMONG CENSUS STAFF
-------------------------------------
6. (SBU) Abdeen called in one of his staff to provide poloff with
the exact numbers on Darfur mapping. According to the CBS
statistician, two out of 14 localities in North Darfur are not
mapped; however, he claimed that these two localities have no
residents. In West Darfur, two of eleven localities are unmapped
because they are inaccessible (rebel-controlled areas). The staffer
had no information on the mapping status of South Darfur State. The
meeting took an interesting turn when the staffer made a personal
plea to Director Abdeen to hire more CBS staff and increase working
hours so that the digital enumeration area (EA) maps can be
completed by 1 March. The statistician explained that two of the
CBS staff responsible for map printing had recently resigned and
that the current staffing is inadequate. Abdeen, clearly annoyed by
his subordinate's complaints in front of poloff, told his staffer to
hire as many people as is necessary to get the job done and quickly

KHARTOUM 00000172 002 OF 002


shooed the staffer away.

---------------------
REMAINING CONCERNS
---------------------
7. (U) Abdeen confirmed rumors that the CBS is still advocating for
five data processing centers in the North. The South has agreed to
have only one, located in Rumbek (ref B). When asked by poloff
about the status of census preparation in the South, Abdeen said
that he thought the South would be ready and that the Southern Sudan
Commission for Census, Statistics, and Evaluation (SSCCSE) had made
good progress over the last two weeks (refs B and C).

8. (SBU) COMMENT: This meeting seems to confirm three of our
suspicions: (a) the North is not as on track as it claims to be in
terms of census preparation, (b) the North denies there will be any
problem with holding a census in Darfur, and (c) the new CBS
director is totally unprepared for his new role. Throughout the
meeting, Director Abdeen pulled back the Wizard of Oz-like curtain
behind him to call in staff to answer critical questions about
census preparation that he did not have the answers to. His
strategy backfired when one of his staffers used the opportunity as
a platform to convey his lack of confidence in the CBS's preparation
and inability to meet critical deadlines. It is apparent that the
CBS is having internal staffing problems and that new Director
Abdeen is not yet aware of what is going on is his own organization,
much less with census preparation in the North. The latest roadblock
is the lack of a presidential decree making official the April
census date. We hope that Abdeen's prediction that the decree will
be promulgated in one or two days is true, but Abdeen's overtly
optimistic prediction that it would be issued within days did not
fill us with confidence.

FERNANDEZ

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC