Sudan's government of national unity was sworn in on Thursday, but power struggles over key government ministries, still challenge the newly formed cabinet.
Members of Sudan's newly formed unity government were sworn in on Thursday after a protracted struggle over critical cabinet ministries delayed the formation of the government for more than a month.
At the center of the struggle was the Ministry of Energy and Mining, which controls oil production and revenue in Sudan. Sudan's leading National Congress Party vied for control of the ministry with former foe, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, or SPLM. On Thursday, the National Congress Party gained control of the ministry.
Sudanese Vice President and former SPLM commander, Salva Kiir Mayardit, said southern Sudanese are dissatisfied with the outcome. "We in the south, or in the SPLM, have been trying to take the portfolio of energy. This is because the current production is in southern Sudan and southern Sudanese would have been very happy, seeing that one of their sons or daughters manages the ministry of energy and mining. Of course the National Congress Party did not allow that. And we have been fighting over it for a very long time. Managing this ministry would give assurances to the people of southern Sudan, and that would make the unity of the country up to the interim period, attractive. Because southern Sudanese would think that there is a change of heart and that people are now becoming on one place to be equal."
The new government of Sudan is transitional. In six years, Southern Sudanese will decide in a referendum if they wish to remain united to northern Sudan or form their own nation.
A January peace agreement signed between north and south Sudan ended 21 years of civil war. The peace agreement spurred investment in Sudan, particularly in the nation's burgeoning oil industry. Crude oil production in Sudan currently averages more than 300,000 barrels per day.