Dispute emerges within South Sudan Council of Churches in Egypt over elections

A Coptic Orthodox church in Cairo, Egypt (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

January 25th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – A sharp dispute has emerged between members of South Sudan Council of Churches in Egypt over elections conducted last weekend.

On Saturday,  elections were held by members of South Sudan Churches Council in the Egyptian capital Cairo to select a new leadership.

Pastor Yohanis Okam Joseph was elected as the new Chairperson of the Council and pastor Kur Ngor was elected as the Secretary-general.

However, pastor Marco Deng Akot who is the incumbent president of the Council told the Nyamilepedia that the elections was not legitimate saying the committee which conducted the election were not authorized by the Council to do such activity.

“This election committee has not been authorized.  They don’t have any paper or any authorization letter. Every election must be authorized by me as the president of South Sudan Churches Union and the Secretary General,” he said.

He said after their selection,  the five-member committee was told by the council to go and sit so as to draft election law and present it back to the President and the Secretary-General who will then approve it and make a timetable for elections.

“We told this five-person committee to go and sit and draft election laws and then make a timetable for elections after which if they finish they will present it to the President and the Secretary General and then they will be given an authorization letter,” he said.

“We gave them three weeks to do this and instead of three week,  they came back in three days asking me for the stamp and other office stuffs,” he added.

Elections were conducted last week and Pastor Yohanis Okam Joseph was elected as the new President of the Council but Marco said he will not recognize or handover anything belong to the council given that they are illegitimate.

“No they are illegal even those who have been elected are not members of the South Sudan Churches Union in Egypt,” he claimed.

“Rev. Yohanes is not a member even he don’t have a membership card even Kur [who is elected as secretary general] is not a member ” he added.

Marco said what has been done by the people who conducted the elections was rather “a coup just a group of people they went and sit and run election without authorization, without anything they just made a coup so we are not going to recognize them.”

For his part,  Pastor Yohanis Joseph denied all claims that the electoral committee was not authorized saying they were selected by the general assembly who then included Pastor Marco saying majority elected them.

“That is not true because the supreme election committee was selected by the general assembly and pastor Marco was one of them and he signed the constitution on which the committee was formed,” he said.

“So the process was fair and transparent. We have the majority and the election was done publicly in front of the media. So,  I don’t think that there is any reason [for pastor Marco] to say that the election was not legitimate,” he added.

He accused Yohanis of derailing election process because of his personal problems with individuals saying it is not logic to spoil the all process because of personal causes.

“Marco has some personal problems with one of the members and he has also reservations against some members of the electoral committee. So,  this is not logic to spoil all the elections process because of personal causes,” he said.

“My message to pastor Marco is that let’s solve our problems in the church. We are Christians and we must solve our problems in a spiritual manner and not through the media,” he added.