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South Sudan opposition groups backtrack on Peter Gatdet’s election: statement

SSOA leaders pose in Khartoum after decision to backtrack on Peter Gatdet election for chairman on 4 Dec 2018 (ST Photo)

December 4, 2018 (JUBA) - The South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA has finally suspended the election of Peter Gatdet Yaka as a new leader and decided to work collectively to resolve the concerns and reservations that tainted the operationalization of the leadership council.

On 30 November, the SSOA Leadership Council elected Yaka for six months but failed to elect the remaining other seven office bearers because the outgoing chairman rejected the outcome of the vote and contested the procedures used in the vote.

However, the opposition umbrella Tuesday decided to backtrack on its decision to elect Yaka pointing to the complications that the split of the group would generate and its negative impact on the peace implementation process.

"Following the dispute that emerged during the meeting (of 30 November), SSOA Leadership in a meeting held on 04th December 2018 unanimously agreed to suspend the outcome of the said meeting," said a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Tuesday evening.

"In the meantime, the Interim Leadership will collectively continue to administer the affairs of SSOA and work amicably towards resolution of all the concerns and within the shortest time possible," further said the SSOA in a joint statement signed by five leaders.

The statement was signed by Gabriel Changson Chang (FDP/SSAF), Khalid Butros Bora (NAS), Josephine Lagu Yanga (PDM), Joseph B. Bakasoro (SSNMC), Hussein Abdelbagi Akol (SSPM), BapinyMonytuilWejang (SSLM).

The South Sudan United Movement (SSUM) of Peter Gatdet and Lam Akol, the leader of the National Democratic Movement (NDM).

SudanTribune failed to reach Lam Akol to get his feedback on this development.

The collective leadership vowed to settle all the concerns that led to creating a rift within the alliance "and that the unity of SSOA and the implementation of the R-ARCSS remain paramount despite the challenging circumstances".

The alliance appealed to all SSOA member organizations, individual members, supporters and well-wishers to be calm, exercise restraint and refrain from provocative and abusive languages.

The SSOA charter provides that the Chairperson is elected by rotation among the Leaders of SSOA’s factions and the six-month term was non-renewable.

Gabriel Changson was elected as the interim chairperson of the alliance on 16 February 2018 with the signing of SSOA’s Charter. So, Since last August some factions pointed to the need to elect another but due to the peace talks at the times the alliance preferred to wait until a peace deal is reached.