Prominent South Sudan opposition leader rejoins ruling party

Friday July 16 2021
Joseph Babgasi Bakasoro.

Joseph Babgasi Bakasoro in South Sudan on July 15, 2021. The prominent member of the South Sudan’s Opposition Alliance (SSOA), has rejoined the ruling party Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM). PHOTO | GARANG MALAK

By Garang Malak

A prominent member of the South Sudan’s Opposition Alliance (SSOA) on Thursday rejoined the ruling party Sudan People Liberation Movement after ten years of abandonment.

Joseph Babgasi Bakasoro was appointed on SSOA ticket in March last year as the Minister of Public Service and Human Resource Development to take part in the coalition government.  

According to observers, his allegiance switch to President Kiir’s party is a violation of the 2018 revitalized peace agreement.

A press statement seen by East African on Thursday, the South Sudan National Movement for Change confirmed Bakasoro’s departure, describing the move as a personal decision.

“On behalf of the SSNMC Interim Leadership and the entire Members of the Movement, we are here to inform the General public that our chairman has decided to re-join the SPLM Party along with other colleagues.

“There is nothing wrong with any member of the Party leaving to join another party. However, we would like to assure our members and supporters that the decision by our former Chairman of SSNMC, and those colleagues who joined him to return to the SPLM Party is purely their personal decision for which we are not a part” reads SSNMC statement.


Speaking to members of the press in Juba on Thursday in Juba, Bakasoro who formerly led SSNMC said his u-return was insinuated by love to serve under SPLM party in order build and reflect more on liberation history.

“Several people might not imagine that I can take such a decision to return to the SPLM because of the humiliation and intimidations I had gone through, but I had to for the sake of history, the party and the country”.

Bakasoro added that his decision is to bring us all onboard of the SPLM in order to effect positive change within the party.

Past humiliation

In early 2010, Babgasi Bakasoro left the ruling party SPLM in which he contested as an independent candidate for the position of Western Equatoria governor position.

In August 2015, President Kiir through a presidential decree sacked Bangasi Bakosoro from the position of Western Equatoria State.

But he was arrested after being summoned by the National Security Service (NSS) to their headquarters in Juba on 22 December 2015, four months after he was briefly arrested.

This was after President Salva Kiir had just fired him from his position as governor in 2015.

On April 27, 2016, the politician was released from detention in Juba without charge or trial.

However, during the revitalized peace negotiations in the Ethiopian capital Addiss-Ababa, Bakaosor formed his his new party, the National Movement for Change, which formed the South Sudan Opposition Alliance – a coalition with other opposition parties and a signatory to the peace accord.