December 5, 2018 (KHARTOUM) – The political crisis among the groups of the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) has worsened as several resist calls to suspend the election of Peter Gatdet as the new chairman.
The election of the South Sudan United Movement (SSUM) leader Peter Gatdet on 30 November triggered a political crisis among the SSOA which was seen as the third political force to append its signature on the revitalized peace agreement on 12 September 2018.
A group led by the ousted leader Gabriel Changson announced on Tuesday that an agreement was reached to suspend the election and vowed to work collectively and amicably towards resolution of all the concerns and within the shortest time possible.
In response, Peter Gatdet’s supporters Wednesday maintained that SSUM leader was elected in “a transparent election took place in line with the SSOA Charter and Regulations under elaborate procedures agreed upon unanimously by all.”
They further went to point an accusing finger to Juba’s meddling in the alliance internal affairs saying that the 4th December meeting that decided the suspension was “chaired by a very senior” South Sudanese government official.
“We, the undersigned declare that the said decision of this group to suspend the election or the Chairman of SSOA is null and void,” said the Peter Gatdet’s allies in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Wednesday.
The statement further called on the IGAD and the international community to channel all communication connected with SSOA and the implementation of R-ARCSS to the elected Chairman of SSOA, Gen. Peter Gatdet Yak and his team.
This development if not resolved quickly will jeopardize the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement and the work of the different pre-transitional period mechanisms.
The statement underscored that two constituent members (Lam Akol and Peter Gatdet) had been excluded from the 4 November meeting.
Wednesday’s statement was signed by Thomas Peter Okac (FDP), Gen (PSC, ll8) Henry Oyay (NAS), Lam Akol (NDM), Anas Richard Zanga (PDM), Thomas Ali Bilal (SSSNMC), Gen Jacob NyierGatkuoth (SSLM) and Gen Peter Gadet Yak (SSUM).
On Tuesday the suspension was decided by Gabriel Changson Chang (FDP/SSAF), Khalid Butros Bora (NAS), Josephine Lagu Yanga (PDM), Joseph B. Bakasoro (SSNMC), Hussein Abdelbagi Akol (SSPM), BapinyMonytuilWejang (SSLM).
Observers denote that the FDP, NAS, PDM, SSNMC and SSLM are represented in the two factions of the SSOA by different persons. This development means that the ongoing rift also affects the unity of the alliance’s groups.
SSOA’s Changson spokesperson Hussein Abdel-Bagui told Sudan Tribune that the signatories of Tuesday’s statement are the parties’ leaders or representatives accredited at the IGAD except, Lam Akol and Peter Gatdet “who leads the other faction”, as he said.
He further stressed their commitment to the unity of the alliance under the leadership of Changson.