Changson-led SSOA denies vice-president position caused ongoing infighting

SSOA acting spokesman Dei Tut Weang (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

February 15th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – The South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) led by Gabriel Changson Lew Chang denied on Friday that ongoing party infighting that caused split was result of wrestling over who can take the vice-president position allocated to the alliance by the peace agreement signed in September last year.

The peace agreement signed by the SSOA, SPLM-IO, FDs, Othe Political Parties (OPP) with the South Sudan government created presidency with five vice-president positions.

According to the deal,  Kiir will remain as the president during the transitional period and former Vice-President, Dr.  Riek Machar will be reinstated back to his previous position as First Vice-President.

The other four vice-president positions will be divided between the government,  SSOA, FDs (on the condition that the person nominated must be a woman), and the OPP.

In recent weeks,  media reports alleged that two rival leader of SSOA, Gen. Peter Gatdet and Gabriel Changson Lew Chang were fighting over who can take the vice-president position allocated to the SSOA.

In a statement issued on Friday, Dei Tut Weang, a acting spokesman for the Changson led SSOA, said the media report of fighting over the matter are not true.

“There are lots of talks to the media about the position of the Vice President allocated to South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) in the power-sharing scheme of the Revitalised ARCSS 2018. This is being cited as the reason for the so-called crisis in the Alliance,” Tut said in the statement extended to the Nyamilepedia on Friday. “It is being cited as the reason for the so-called crisis in SSOA. This is not true. If there are any leaders of SSOA aspiring for this and expressing their intentions, they are free to do so.”

Tut further said any allocation of positions within the fractured alliance will be administered by the SSOA leaders and not by any third party entity or the media.

“It must be made categorically clear that SSOA power-sharing positions will be allocated among its members by leaders of SSOA but not [by] any third party,” he said.

“The allocation of these positions will only take place when all the positions for SSOA ranging from the National to local government levels are ascertained. We are therefore not in a hurry to distribute these positions,” he added.

He denied that the alliance has been weighing for positions during the entire period of peace talks from Addis Ababa’s High-level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) to the talks in Khartoum.

He said the struggle by some SSOA leaders for positions betray the cause of the alliance.

“Struggle for positions within SSOA is therefore not only a betrayal of our people but deviation from our cardinal principles,” he said.

In November, a election reportedly conducted in the Sudanese capital Khartoum threatened the unity of the alliance after the leader,  Gabriel Changson decided to suspend a outcome which resulted in the election of Gen. Gatdet Yaka, the leader of South Sudan United Movement (SSUM) by 62%.