Succession wrangles tear former Bakosoro party

Succession wrangles tear former Bakosoro party
Joseph Bakosoro, Former Chairman of SSNMC (photo credit: Change.org)

A faction within the South Sudan National Movement for Change (SSNMC) has raised concerns over the credibility of recently concluded elections where the party picked a new chairman to replace Joseph Bangasi Bakosoro.

In their extraordinary convention held in Juba on September 25, the SSNMC elected Maj. Gen. Moro Isaac Jenessio as the successor of the former chairman Bakosoro following his defection to the ruling party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).

However, a dissenting group has emerged opposing the criteria on which the election was conducted saying it did not meet basic standards.

In a press statement released by the group on September 30, 2021, signed by Clement Juma Mbugoniwia, the group accused the SSNMC acting chairperson Ishag Elias Ibrahim and secretary-general Mr. Jenessio of deciding to conduct an election when members of the party were in the moment of grief planning the burial of a party leader.

“The SSNMC worldwide are dismayed [by] what transpired on Saturday 25, 2021, at Regency Hotel, Juba, where the Acting Chairperson together with the Secretary-General decided to conduct the election of the new chairperson when members of the party were at a funeral mourning the death of one of the founding members Simon Archangelo Ngbidiigi,” the group protested in the statement.

“Based on the facts and constitutional issues raised on this statement, we hereby conclude that the 25th September 2021 Election doesn’t meet basic standards of a democratic election that include but is not limited to being free and fair, therefore, we consider the said election to be null and void,” Juma stated.

The group said despite calls from its party members to postpone the election for a week to allow for a decent mourning period and burial, the other groups went on with their business.

“We have no problem with that but we are concerned that the credibility of the SSNMC‘s electoral process has been grossly [violated], and therefore, that undermined the outcome of the said election, the party unity, and its visions and mission,” Juma stressed.

The group added that the election conduct was pure abuse of power and a gross violation of the SSNMC’s Constitution and the Electoral Code.

He claimed that the acting chairperson decided to conduct elections when one of the founders and a colleague died and that most of the senior members were in mourning

“The election was done so hastily to take advantage of the absence of senior members who were at the funeral and would have questioned some of the electoral irregulates and or contest for the top job,” they stated.

The group claimed that the acting chairperson and secretary-general dictated who should vote or else they will not be given positions or their current positions shall be revoked.

 The letter added that other states did not meet to select their eligible voters and thus the acting chairperson and the Secretary-General influenced the selection of voters to suit their interests.

 “We hereby conclude that September 25, 2021, election does not meet basic standards of a democratic election that includes but is not limited to being free and fair, therefore, we consider the said election to be null and void.”

But in a response letter, the SSNMC led by Gen. Jenessio dismissed the claims saying the author (Clement Juma) was trying to cause division among members of the party.

“Clement Juma has been constantly using the language of founding members and seniority as the means to intimidate and segregate members within the party,” the statement read in part.

“The author is exhibiting emotional, dishonest and sectional characteristics he has been harboring for quite some time and intends to double-deal between the affairs of SSOA and other peace partners,” the group stated in a rebuttal press statement.

The group described Juma’s statement as mere frustrations and baseless allegations and called on the public to discharge the claims.

“Our elections were free, fair, and transparent and this was witnessed by media houses, some SSOA leaders present in Juba, and representatives of other political parties/movements who attended the historical event,” they added in a statement.

They further called upon SSOA leaders to take caution against members who intend to ‘‘double-deal and oscillate between organizations’’.

They also urged Mr. Juma to join the rest of his colleagues in the quest to achieve the vision, mission, and objectives of the SSNMC.

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