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Bar Association to continue with election despite protest from members

By:  Elia Joseph Loful

The South Sudan Bar Association (SSBA) says it will continue with election of the new leadership despite objection from other advocates.

Some of the members walked away from the meeting which was convened in Juba yesterday, arguing that the there was no quorum and the process lacked consensus among the members.

In a statement to the press, Benjamin Sogora, the Chairperson of the organizing committee said general assembly should continue saying the process was democratic.

 “We have already resolved the issue of the quorum democratically through voting. For us we have unified ourselves as one body, because there were about five groups by then, but later some three groups walked away, I don’t know what motive they have,” he wondered.

He said it was necessary to establish the new body to unify all the fragmented members.

“As a country has been here now for more than 9 years without bar association, we need to establish at least one body,” Sogora emphasized.

He appealed to the members who boycotted the group to reconsider coming back and join the system.

Basfila Banisto Loro, a member of the electoral board said lawyers were supposed to have one organized body adding that they represent legality in the country.

“All these times we have been here without recognized bar association and many things affected us. And we as lawyers we must have a body that represents us. Therefore, we have agreed today to go ahead with the meeting,” Banisto said.

She stated that the association attempted to conduct elections several times but all failed.

“Sometime back in 2014 the same thing happen, we tried to conduct election but some members do not agree with the decision, it has failed many times. But today we are saying it must take place,” she argued.

In a press statement extended to Juba Monitor, another group of lawyers refuted the meeting saying the assembly chaired by Sogora shall be considered as SPLM-Party Juba Lawyers’ League Convention and NOT South Sudan Bar Association General Assembly.

“We request our representatives at Collective General Assembly Organizing Committee to withdraw immediately and cease any participation at the so-called General Assembly Meeting of 20th February 2020.”

“We request all Licensed Advocates in general and our supporters in particular to ignore this illegal General Assembly as it lacks consensus among Bar Association disputing stakeholders,” the statement read.

Last year, two different bodies claiming the leadership of the Bar Association held two separate general assembly’s meetings but all ended with brawls.

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