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JUBA - 19 Jun 2021

Opposition parties blame internal differences, SPLM (IG) for delayed swearing-in of MPs

Members of the opposition parties and groupings which are signatories to the revitalized peace agreement and partly constitute the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGoNU) have blamed their internal variances and the SPLM (IG) for the delayed swearing-in of the nominated members of parliament. 

Kornelio Kon Ngu, the leader of the National Alliance of Political Parties and a leading member of the grouping, Other Political Parties (OPP), said there are some complaints from the SPLM and OPP and that the directive of President Salva Kiir that elected members of parliament should take priority in being nominated was breached. 

“There are several issues that have contributed to the delay of the swearing-in of the appointed MPs. There are complaints from the SPLM and OPP. The president had instructed that all 170 members who have been elected during the 2010 elections should be the priority of the appointment. But this directive was not observed,” Kon clarified. “When the list of the nominees came out, it was not per the directive of the president. Many nominees were relatives of some leaders and they were announced. The president felt that his directive was not put into action. This has contributed to the delay of the swearing-in of the appointed MPs.”

He added, “On the side of the OPP, as usual, one of the parties in the OPP, Peter Mayen Majongdit, unilaterally nominated his friends and left out the actual members of the parties who are signatories to the agreement. OPP members raised this complaint to the president and he acknowledged that this is not right. These are issues which led to the delay of the swearing-in."

Kon said they held a meeting as OPP and that they also met President Kiir who advised them to bring an inclusive list. He accused Majongdit of acting ultra vires and drafting his lists.

Asked about the way forward, Kon said, “I expect him (President Kiir) to intervene and ask Peter Mayen (Majongdit) to sit with us because the word “Dit” has become a problem in South Sudan and we don’t know how we are going to resolve it,” Kon said.

However, Peter Mayen Majongdit, the chairman of the People's Liberal Party South Sudan (PLP) and a leading member of the Other Political parties (OPP) said their umbrella grouping submitted their list of nominees to the National Legislative Assembly and only await the swearing-in.

"Frankly, we are a big party but our percentage is very little in the peace agreement. Therefore, the thirty seats will not be enough to accommodate everybody. But thank God we have appointed individuals to represent us,” Majongdit said. “We are now ready for the swearing-in because all the parties have submitted their nomination list even though it is not exactly what they intended to have. Some were requesting more seats, like three or five or ten. On our side, we are represented in all positions and hopefully, things will go on smoothly. Some parties might have their internal problems but for us as OPP, we have resolved all our issues.”

When told that Kornelio Kon insisted that there were internal contradictions and disagreements within the OPP, Minister Majongdit denied it.

“Frankly we met and discussed this issue. Kornelio Kon, from his party, has the position of the deputy governor of Central Equatoria and he has seven state ministers and the umbrella (OPP) has two. So when the state government was named, the umbrella didn't want any interruption and we kept quiet,” Majongdit explained. “And when the national MPs were named, we won some seats. So, what we did was to balance. This is not an electoral government but a constitutional government. That is why I decided that we should have representatives from all the umbrella parties. So up to this moment, I want to say there is no political party within the OPP umbrella that has not been represented.”

He said they held several meetings to iron out their differences and insisted the sharing of political slots was fair within the OPP.

“We have held several meetings and this is the decision that we came up with. As the party chairman, I have PLP and this cannot allow me to have all the positions. So, Kon as another party chairman has seven state ministers, one deputy governor, and three commissioners and his party has representatives within the 30 members of the OPP to the parliament. This issue can’t be regarded as a national issue. Even in the alliance, some things have not been represented but now we made it possible,” Majongdit said.

Asked how many people he nominated from his PLP to the 30 OPP slots, Minister Majongdit said, “From my party, I have nominated two people. And from the umbrella, which consists of 22 parties, we have 24 members.”

He said he was not a member of the nomination committee but that Kornelio Kon was the chairman of the nomination team, “So there is no disagreement within the OPP over the nomination list up to now.”

Santo Malek Anei, Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), Deputy Secretary for Political Affairs, Mobilization and Organization, said his party was reviewing the list of people it nominated to parliament. 

“The leadership of the SPLM came out and said they need to review the list (MPs) and they have to bring them back. So those who were in the parliament since 2010 and the appointees are those who came on the SPLM ticket. They have to be reinstated, they have to come back. There is no confusion anyway,” Malek reassured.

Asked about some names on the SPLM list appearing twice and complaints from some SPLM members about not being nominated to parliament even though they were elected in 2010, Malek said the matter is being resolved using internal procedures.

“In the first place, there is no doubling of names as you mentioned. That is what I would like to dismiss. Secondly, there were some names (people) who appeared to be undisciplined, those who were in the former parliament from 2010 -2020. Those were left out of the list,” Malek said. “They were left out recently because that is a measure taken by any political party. The SPLM has a system whereby undisciplined people within the party are thrown out by the caucus of the SPLM.”

He said that the party members who are complaining had disciplinary issues or have been sick for a long time. He advised them to be patient and wait to stand in the forthcoming elections. 

Joseph Bangasi Bakasoro of the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) reiterated claims by the other parties that the SPLM was resolving their internal issues to do with their list of parliamentarians and this led to a delay in swearing in the members. 

“The appointment of members of parliament is done but there were some disagreements over the list of the SPLM party and I hope the issue has been resolved by now. Once they agree, they will announce when MPs will be sworn in. I am not aware as to when this might happen, as I am not a member of parliament,” Bakasoro said.

Asked if they have problems in their outfit, SSOA, Bakasoro said, “As SSOA, we don’t have any disagreements over our list. The only disagreements over the list of MPs are within the SPLM party and I am sure they will reach a consensus soon.”

About when the Council of States and states’ parliaments will be constituted, Bakasoro said all the lists were ready and just awaiting the announcement. 

“Everything is done. We are just waiting for the announcement. But according to me, the delay might be due to some technical arrangements that are ongoing. So, let us wait and see. After the swearing-in of the national assembly, the Council of States will be announced,” Bakasoro said.

He attributed the delays in the implementation of the peace agreement to a lack of funds and unforeseen challenges. 

“One of the challenges is the issue of funds. If you don’t have money, nothing will move. The second thing is the allocation of positions in the states, increment of MPs in the states, and the State Council. All these are challenges,” Bakasoro explained. “That is why the implementation process is going slowly, but despite these challenges, we are determined to move forward with the implementation of the peace deal.”

For his part, Puok Both Baluang, the SPLM-IO director of information and public relations, said his party carried out internal consultations and finished the process of nominating its MPs and blamed SPLM for the continued delays regarding the swearing-in of appointed MPs.

“According to information we got through the media, some SPLM members have some reservations over some names that appeared in their list, which led to the delay up to now,” Both said. “On our side as SPLM-IO, we have carried out consultations among our members in all the states and we managed to reach a mutual consensus and presented our list to the presidency and their names have been announced. But the delay is now clearly coming from the SPLM party.”

He admonished the SPLM and said the continued delay constricts the implementation of the peace agreement.

“This delay is not in the interest of the peace implementation and we urge the SPLM to speed up its efforts to resolve its internal disagreement. These problems are supposed to be resolved within the past one year before the names were announced,” Both reproved. “This kind of delay will take us backward and as you know the implementation of the peace agreement is behind schedule. Therefore, there is a need to speed up and resolve such kinds of problems. Parties cannot move forward with the implementation unless all government structures are all established as stipulated in the peace agreement.”

Asked about the internal problems of the OPP, Both said, “Our observations are that these are internal issues but they affect the formation of the parliament. But on our side, we have presented our nominees but the problem is within other parties to the agreement.”

He encouraged the parties which have internal contradictions to quickly find solutions to their problems so that MPs can take their oath of office and commence their constitutional mandate.