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Political party boycotts conference

By Opio Jackson

The Chairman of United Sudan African Party (USAP) Joseph Ukel Abango has boycotted the ongoing political parties’ conference in Juba.

The two-day conference is organized by the National Dialogue Steering Committee.

Ukel accused some members from the National Dialogue leadership for their role in splitting his party.

He said the invitation sent to him on the 22nd October by Gabriel Yoal Dok, Deputy Co-chairperson of the National Dialogue has been altered.

“This invitation was extended to me in my capacity as USAP Chairman in the National Dialogue Steering Committee and not as USAP-1as it appeared on the membership batches,” Ukel protested.

He explained that in the initial initiation, he was invited with three other senior USAP members including Ajang Bior Duot Secretary General, Philip Jiben Ogal Secretary of Information and Catherine Poni Quiriko Secretary for Gender.

“Unfortunately, when the invitation batches were received by us on Saturday, we were surprised to find out that we were invited as representative of USAP-1 while there was another illegal list created as USAP-2 headed by Joseph Malek Arop, Joseph Ojuku Ikerak and three other representatives,” he said.

USAP-1 which is now attributed to my political party will not participate in that important political parties’ conference because we consider this as illegal as can be seen in the list of fourteen registered political parties council,” he said.

Ukel accused some members within the National Dialogue leadership and the Steering Committee for being behind the creation of the group dubbed USAP-2.

In the protest letter, the Chairman USAP Ukel urged the National Dialogue leadership to remove what he descried as the “so-called USAP-2” for his team to participate in the ongoing political parties’ conference.

USAP was founded in 1987 as an umbrella of seven political parties, mainly from South Sudan, which aimed at uniting the parliamentary opposition from the marginalized areas. It was chaired by Eliaba Surur, a veteran politician of the South who later joined the SPLM/A. After the military takeover of 1989 USAP went underground led by Hilary Logali, another veteran politician of the South, who passed away in 1998. He was succeeded by Joseph Ukel, a former Regional Minister of Information.

Ukel boasted, saying the contribution of USAP to the independence of South Sudan cannot be questioned by any political party.

The party played great role as a close counselor to both SPLM and NCP during the Peace talk that resulted in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005 and under the power-sharing agreement of the CPA, USAP was allocated ten seats in the National Assembly.

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