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SSUM rejects its suspension from South Sudan Opposition Alliance

SSOA leaders pose in a collective picture (ST file)
July 31, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The South Sudan United Movement (SSUM) Tuesday rejected the suspension of its membership from the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA), saying it was only taken by leaders of two groups.

The rebel group led by Gen. Peter Gatdet Yak was suspended by the opposition alliance last week, for signing the “Agreement on Outstanding Issues on Governance” with the South Sudan government and SPLM-IO led by former vice president Riek Machar in contravention of a previous collegial decision to not sign it.

SSOA in a statement released on 26 July said the suspension was decided after an explanation from SSUM representative and a deliberation on the matter.

However, Juan Dar SSUM Secretary for Information told Sudan Tribune that the decision to suspend their party was based on an "individual and unfair act".

“The purported suspension of SSUM is illegal. The decision was taken by individuals who hold a grudge against SSUM or General Gatdet,” Dar said.

He blamed the head of the alliance, Gabriel Changson Chang, and Lam Akol the leader of National Democratic Movement for taking the decision without involving the other leaders of the Opposition Alliance.

“Initially we agreed to be united as members of the opposition alliance, but most of the leaders who came here left the venue of the talks, so I can say that the alliance is divided,” he further stated.

“FDs now are still part of SSOA, but they are being given their own ministries as a separate group. Do you think they are still members of SSOA?”, he asked.

The power-sharing deal allocates two ministries and 10 seats in the parliament for the FDs who are part of the opposition alliance. The group which is led by Pagan Amum issued also a separate statement rejecting the deal.

The SSUM spokesperson said their party signed the proposed governance agreement due to the lack of coordination and consultation among the SSOA leadership during the peace in Khartoum.

“We were not aware when many leaders of the opposition alliance left the venue of the talks in Khartoum and travelled. SSOA is no longer a legal body that can suspend any entity that has its own policy and plan,” he added.

“We cannot be suspended by two people. SSOA does not comprise of two people only. So, I can say that what is happening within the opposition alliance is not different from what is happening in Juba,” he said.

The South Sudanese leader Salva Kiir said he is keen to have an inclusive peace agreement as his delegation returned to Khartoum seeking to reach a last-minute compromise with the holdout groups on the two issues of contention: the delay for the organisation of the referendum on the 32 states during the transitional period, and the SSOA ratios in the government and parliament.

The final signing of the revitalized agreement will be on 5 August in presence of the IGAD leaders.

(ST)