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JUBA - 1 Jul 2020

SSOA leaders still at odds over candidate for Jonglei governor

Leading members of the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) have failed to find common ground over the nomination of one candidate to fill the position of Jonglei state governor.

 President Salva Kiir on Monday appointed governors for eight states, two weeks after his agreement with his first deputy Riek Machar on the process for nominating governors in the country’s 10 states.

The president, however, did not name governors for two states – Jonglei and Upper Nile – and did not clarify the reason.

Last week, South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) – a third party to the September 2018 peace agreement – disagreed on the process for nominating a governor for Jonglei State.

Josephine Joseph Lagu, the SSOA chairperson told Radio Tamazuj on Tuesday a group within the alliance had nominated the Higher Education minister and leader of South Sudan United Movement (SSUM), Denay Jock Chagor for Jonglei State governor’s position.

"According to the coalition’s policy, the secretary-general of an organization within SSOA does not have the right to assume a senior executive position. These vacant positions are for party leaders within the alliance. Members and secretary generals cannot assume such senior positions,” Lagu said.

She, however, said the ongoing investigation into escalating inter-communal fighting in Jonglei could be the reason why the president delayed the appointment of a governor for Jonglei state.

For his part, Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin, the Secretary-General of SSOA and leader of the National Democratic Movement (NDM) confirmed the stalemate over the nomination process, saying two groups emerged within the alliance.

He said while one group within the alliance nominated Denay Jock Chagor, the other chose NDM Secretary-General Mahjoub Biel as a candidate for the Jonglei governor.

Speaking to reporters in Juba on Tuesday, Akol said there are three movements in the alliance that did not participate in the transitional government and that while two of them supported Majoub Biel, another group within the alliance rejected his candidature and nominated Denay Jock Chagor instead.

The prominent politician says SSOA’s failure to agree on one candidate was the reason why President Salva Kiir did not appoint a governor for Jonglei State.

Gabriel Changson Chang, a leading member of SSOA and leader of the Federal Democratic Party (FDP), declined to comment on the differences within SSOA.

The presidency could not immediately be reached for comment.