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New wrangle over positions looming within SSOA

Author: Garang Abraham Malaak | Published: Friday, July 31, 2020

Leaders of the South Sudan Opposition Alliance. Courtesy

Another wrangle over the distribution of portfolios in the peace bodies, including the national assembly has emerged within the South Sudan Opposition Alliance, an official of the National Democratic Movement has said.

SSOA is an alliance of 8 political parties.

It is expected to submit a list of its preferred candidates for the reconstituted transitional national legislative assembly

But NDM’s spokesperson said the alliance has not reached a consensus over the nomination list.

President Kiir is expected to dissolve the current parliament and reconstitute a new one.

Based on the 2018 peace agreement, the parties are required to submit nominees to the National Constitutional Amendment Committee for verification.

The confirmed list will then be forwarded to the President for the appointment.

But said each party within SSOA is reportedly insisting on presenting its nominees and not as a coalition.

“SSOA is always having an internal problem when it comes to the issue of distributing anything that is allocated to them,” said David Lawrence Lual, NDM spokesperson.

This is not the first time the Opposition Alliance has disagreed over a unified position.

In February, it could not submit the nominee for the position of the Vice President of the Transitional Government of National Unity.

There was a dispute over which party should front a candidate. President Salva Kiir ended the stalemate by appointing Hussein Abdelbaggi.

In June, SSOA divided itself into two sections over the allocation of the states.

A meeting between President Kiir and First Vice President, Dr. Machar allocated Jonglei state to SSOA, while SPLM-IO took Upper Nile state.

But a section of SSOA led by the chairperson, Josephine Lagu rejected Upper Nile, insisting on being given Jonglei state.

But another section led by the coalition’s Secretary-General, Dr. Lam Akol accepted the allocation and went ahead to nominate a candidate for the gubernatorial position.

This month, the Opposition Alliance again disagreed over the choice of candidate for Jonglei governorship.

Dr. Lam Akol’s party, NDM, insisted on being given the chance at the seat, but the Federal Democratic Party led by Gabriel Changson Chang nominated the then Minister of Higher Education, Denay Chagor to take up the position.

Denay was eventually appointed by the President as governor for Jonglei state and Changson became the new Minister of Higher Education.

The NDM spokesperson traces the problem to the formula used by the peace mediators to earmarked positions for coalition parties.

“I cannot blame them but I blame IGAD because [it started] from the beginning,” Lual asserted.

The agreement allocated the Opposition Alliance fifty members to the reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly and the Council of States.

“All these positions that were allocated should have been divided and any organization get its share, it would be easy,” he said.

Mr. Lual added that only IGAD can resolve the continuos dispute within the coalition.

The parties within the Opposition Alliance are led by; Dr. Lam Akol, Gabriel Changson, Joseph Bakasoro, Khalid Butrus, Josephine Lagu, Hussein Abdelbagi and Bapiny Monytuil, and formerly late Peter Gatdet.

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