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KHARTOUM - 5 Dec 2018

Row deepens as opposition alliance splits over leadership

The South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA), a consortium of several opposition entities, is rocked by deep controversies among its members over the leadership of the group.

This comes after the interim leader of the opposition alliance Gabriel Changson Chang refuted elections conducted on 30 November in Khartoum, where Gen. Peter Gatdet Yak was declared the winner of the controversial election.

Hussein Abdelbagi Akol, a member of the SSOA faction led by Gabriel Changson, told Radio Tamazuj Wednesday that there were irregularities in the electoral process.

“Our opinions differed over the procedures to elect the leader of SSOA because some leaders of opposition groups that are members of SSOA were absent, but some members decided to go ahead with the election,” he said.

He confirmed that his group rejected the outcome of the election conducted on November 30. However, Husain expressed his group’s commitment to work collectively to preserve the unity of the opposition alliance.

“The only recognized leader of SSOA is Gabriel Changon. What we have observed is that Dr. Lam Akol is trying to divide SSOA,” Hussein said.

Changson’s faction includes Khalid Butros (NAS), Josephine Lagu Yanga (PDM), Joseph Bangasi Bakasoro (SSNMC), Hussein Abdelbagi Akol (SSPM) and Bapiny Monytuil (SSLM).

For its part, General Gatdet’s faction decided to keep on the battle against Changson’s leadership. It insisted that a transparent election took place in accordance with the SSOA Charter under elaborate procedures.

“The so-called dispute arose when the former Interim Chairman who lost the election refused to accept the outcome, not for anything but that he did not want to accept the person elected,” partly reads the group’s statement.

“We declare that the said decision of this group to suspend the election of the chairman of SSOA is null and void,” adds the statement.

The faction called on the East African bloc IGAD and the international community to channel all communication connected with SSOA and the implementation of the peace agreement to the elected leader, Gen. Peter Gatdet Yak.

Gatdet’s faction incudes Lam Akol (NDM), Henry Oyay (NAS), Thomas Peter  Okac (FDP), Anas Richard Zanga (PDM), Thomas Ali Bilal (SSNMC) and Jacob Nyier Gatkuoth  (SSLM).

In September, members of the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) signed a final peace deal with President Salva Kiir as one entity under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).