By Staff Writer
After having decamped the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) party a decade ago, Bangasi Joseph Bakosoro like the biblical prodigal son has returned to the SPLM fold.
Bakosoro who has dissolved his National Movement for Change party hitherto part of the South Sudan Opposition Alliance coalition, announced his return to the SPLM on Thursday in Juba before a fully packed conference room at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs amid cheers.
“There is time for everything it’s time to return home, in the first place I would like to appreciate and thank the President of the Republic of South Sudan Salva Kiir Mayardit for accepting me, and my team to converge here to deliver a unifying message to South Sudanese on the occasion of my returning back to the SPLM,” said Bakosoro amid ululation among SPLM officials who received him.
Bakosoro abandoned the SPLM before the 2010 election, in which he contested for Governorship of Western Equatoria State as an independent candidate trouncing the SPLM candidate Jemma Nunu Kumba who is the current Minister of Parliamentary Affairs.
He led his National Movement for Change party under SSOMA during the negotiation of the 2018 revitalized peace deal in Ethiopia.
“Several people might not imagine that I can take such a decision to return to the SPLM because of the humiliation and intimidation I had gone through but I had to for the sake of history, the party and the country,” he disclosed.
Bakosoro was relieved from his post of Governor of Western Equatoria in the aftermath of outbreak of conflict in December 2013.
In his speech yesterday, he said that the SPLM party had been polarized, adding that this polarization had created hatred, envy and division among citizens.
He also said that the 2010 general election preempted the political divide that caused classification of members within the SPLM ranks leaving some to feel isolated.
Bakosoro revealed that this situation led some SPLM cadres including him to exit the SPLM without necessarily causing any harm to the party.
“Personally , I experienced all sorts of humiliations, hatred, character assassination, and all types of betrayals from our own people just because of my influence in Western Equatoria state and in an attempt to distance me from the country’s leadership, hence we were forced to form own movement so that our voice could be heard,” he said.
He revealed that he and other estranged politicians from Greater Equatoria and other regions were cajoled by their people to return to the SPLM fold to effect reforms within the party.
“On my side all the years had been a painful transition for me to be outside SPLM even though I had contributed effectively in the liberation of the country,” said Bakosoro.
“I asked myself, what does it profit me who was in the front line fighting for the freedom for 22 years and to abandon the SPLM party that led us into total independence just because I am unhappy? Why should I be the cause of division among SPLM members in WES and South Sudan,” he added.
The eloquent former Governor of Western Equatoria State called on South Sudanese to support the SPLM.
Jemma Nunu Kumba, Acting Secretary of SPLM party said that her work in the party is to reconcile all the SPLM party members, adding that she will be going after the members who left to return to the party.
She called upon all those who have left the SPLM to come back for the unity of South Sudanese.
Kumba also urged South Sudanese to forget the past and open a new chapter for the sake of peace and unity in the country.
“We have to refrain from hate speech and focus on the future of our country, let’s leave behind all the personal differences and work together for peace and unity in our country,” she said.