National, News

Leadership dispute entangles UDF party

By Bosco Bush


United Democratic Forum (UDF) party is embroiled in a dispute over the leadership and control of the party.

The disagreement arose after the Political Parties Council (PPC) on May 22, 2024, released and gazetted list of thirteen new registered and eligible political parties, among which was the UDF.

In the list availed by the PPC, Bona Deng was listed as the leader of the party.

However, Moses Pieny Deng, the interim chairperson of the breakaway UDF under Sebastiano Uchan Kiech Ayaga now claimed that his faction is the legitimate one.

“UDF has been divided into two because of leadership. UDF of Bona Deng which is UDF of Abdulrahman Sule. UDF of Sebastiano Uchan Kiech Ayaga which is our wing. So, we have two wings in the political parties’ council,” said Deng.

Mr. Deng told No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper that his group has been sidelined in the registration process, with the other splinter group led by Bona Deng being favored.

He claimed that the approval of the other group by the PPC is “illegal” since they have a pending case in court to settle the dispute.

“The case is suspended. It is not in the interest of Bona Deng or in the interest of Sebastiano Ochen. If there will be a unity, it will be me, my wing as Moses Pieny, and the wing of Bona Deng who can agree and we go to the PPC and to the court and say the court is now dismissed,” he said.

In response to the matter, Bona Deng, the Chairman of the other faction of UDF stated that they have fully complied with all the legal procedures required for the successful registration of their party.

He dismissed the complaints from the opposing faction as “baseless claims” that the party had not adhered to the proper processes.

“We have gone through the necessary procedures. We did submit our documents, and after they were verified by the Political Parties Committee, the documentation was found to be satisfactory and in accordance with the regulations as well as the Political Parties Act of 2012,’ Deng explained.

He continued, ‘These are unfounded claims that we in the party cannot pervert to.’

The registration of political parties in South Sudan is one of the key prerequisites and elements as the country prepares for the general elections scheduled for December, as stipulated in the 2018 peace deal and the Road Map initiative.”

UDF is under the Other Political Parties (OPP) umbrella, a group of six political parties. Its former chairperson, Sebastiano Uchen Kiech, resigned from his party’s chairmanship and joined the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in September 2023, citing a lack of unity and confidence among UDF party members.

Attempts to reach the Chairperson of the Political Parties Council for a response were unsuccessful.




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