Rampant leadership wrangles occurring in political and social affiliations are a serious indicator that South Sudanese are power hungry, a civil society activist has said.
Reports of disagreements over leadership positions have surfaced in prominent national organizations – with some accusing others of failing to vacate offices, while others unilaterally declare themselves into offices.
At the political level, the South Sudan Opposition Alliance, a coalition of various parties to the peace agreement, has been embroiled in a series of disputes over the chairmanship.
Recently, the Interim chairperson, Gabriel Changson told the press that one of its leaders has declared herself as the leader of the coalition.
Last year, the late Peter Gatdet was installed as the leader of the group by a section of SSOA, although opposed by Changson.
Within the youth organizations; in March, some youths accused the Chairman of the National Youth Union of failing to vacate the office, saying his term and that of his team ended, a claim the Executive of the Union rejected.
The union chairman’s office is still vacant as elections are underway.
“South Sudanese are becoming too much possessed with power as with the moment you bring a structure to South Sudanese, they must fight on that on who should lead that and that,” said Edmund Yakani, Executive Director of the Community Empowerment for Progress Organization, CEPO.
Yakani said these wrangles are influenced and driven by tribal affiliations and interests.
The South Sudan Bar Association, composed of lawyers and advocates, and the Red Army Foundation, which is made up of former child soldiers have also cast themselves into the struggle over leadership.
Through the intervention of the SPLM party and top army officials, the Red Army Foundation recently settled [partly] it’s leadership problems after some members accused Deng Bol of overstaying since his term ended in November 2018.
And recently, wrangle stems from the fight over the leadership of the South Sudan Bar Association after the general assembly of the members voted out advocates James Altaib, Ajak Mayol and others from executive positions of the bar association.
The General assembly then elected new members to the interim executive – headed up by lawyer Issa Muzamil – whose team will serve for a period of 6 months but that led to brief detention of Muzamil by the splinter group under the leadership of Altaib and Ajak Mayol – who accused him of forging stamps.
“As much as we challenge political parties that they are ethnic affiliated, even social movements are linked to that, regionalism is also linked to that; on where does this person comes from and we should not be against him/her,” Yakani told Eye Radio.
The current revitalized peace agreement being implemented by the parties came as a result of military clashes attributed to power wrangles within the ruling, SPLM.
A group of the ruling elites challenged the seat of the president in 2013 leading to a series of political unrest, and an eventual outbreak of war in December that year.
Edmund Yakani said such wrangles goes to prove that South Sudan will continue to face serious challenges in its democratization efforts.
“It’s a very bad indicator for the future of a stable and a peaceful South Sudan,” he said.
Yakani urges all institutions to embrace the principles of democracy because it allows every a fair chance at leadership roles that are likely to affect real change.
“You shouldn’t stick to power in order to accelerate violence. Democracy is when the majority say you are not capable, walk away…go and put your house in order, and next time you try again,” he concluded.
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