National, News, Politics

Gen. Johnson Olony Remains SPLM-IO Nominee

General Johnson Olony nominee by the SPLM-IO for the governorship of Upper Nile state, file photo

By Kiden Stela Mandela & Ochaya Jackson

The Leadership of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) has on Monday said that Gen. Johnson Olony remains a nominee on its ticket to be appointed as the Governor of Upper Nile State. This was revealed by First Vice President’s Spokesperson James Gadet during an exclusive interview on phone with No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper.

“Gen. Johnson Olony is a nominee by my Leadership and he remains as a nominee, you know…SPLM-IO has right as a party to the peace agreement to nominate their candidate like any other party. So we have nominated Johnson Olony as the Governor of Upper Nile State, this is what remains so. But as you know the two Principals President Salva Kiir, and First Vice President Riek Machar have been in contact also over this issue, they are trying to iron out their differences so that hopefully Johnson Olony will be appointed by the President”, Spokesperson James Gadet told No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper.

On June 29th, 2020 President Salva Kiir appointed eight governors of the eight States. But he did not appoint the governor of Upper Nile State Johnson Olony who was a nominee by SPLM-IO, citing that he was still carrying arms, and the governor of Jonglei State which was allocated to South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA), was not also appointed over differences within the Alliance on who to be nominated as a governor.

However, on the 15th July, 2020, the President appointed Denay Jock Chagor, as the governor of Jonglei State after SSOA submerged their differences over nomination. Hence, leaving Upper Nile in vacuum as the stalemate drawn in between President Salva Kiir’s camp and First Vice President Riek Machar stands.

On Sunday 26th, July 2020, Presidential Press Secretary Ateny Wek Ateny said that Johnson Olony is a warlord and the President rejected him on the ground of protecting South Sudanese lives.

“Johnson Olony is a warlord he is not part of the peace agreement….he is not implementing the peace agreement. So the President rejected him on that basis, he is a warlord that he is willing only to fight. He did not come to Juba he still has forces and the forces have not gone to cantonment areas. So the President rejected him on the basis of protecting lives of the people of South Sudan”, Ateny told No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper on phone interview.

“He is not among the parties, if he was among the party he could have been under the leadership of SPLM-IO, he is not part of the peace agreement and therefore he cannot be appointed governor”, he added.

But James Gadet said Olony is SPLA/M-IO sector commander assigned in Upper Nile State and has not violated any ceasefire since 2017.

“This not true. Johnson Olony is a sector commander in Upper Nile State he is under the leadership of SPLM/A-IO Dr. Riek Machar so he has no parallel system. There is no reason to say that he is not for peace and actually he is for peace because since the ceasefire agreement was signed in 2017 he has never violated any ceasefire in the area he controls or the area he is assigned to manage. So he is respecting or observing the ceasefire itself there is no reason for anyone to doubt and he is under the leadership of SPLM-IO”, said James.

“He is the nominee of SPLM –IO and it is the leadership of SPLM-IO to nominate its governors likewise SPLM-IO has no right to reject any of the nominees from other parties so we hope that this will be understood.  And SPLM-IO leadership will be given its rights to nominate its person in the person of Johnson Olony to be appointed I think he will be given his rights for the post”, he added.

James Boboya, Director for Institute of Social Policy on Research and Organization Development said under the peace agreement the parties have equal rights in nominating their candidate to be appointed in any position.

“The peace agreement is very clear that the parties to the agreement being the TGoNU which is headed by Salva Kiir, the SPLM – IO headed by Riek Machar , the SSOA, then we have the OPP led by Mayen and the Former Detainees headed by Mama Rebecca. So those leaders have equal rights in terms of nominating their candidates to be appointed either to take up governors’ position, or ministerial position, or Members of Parliament or advisor whatever government position. So the peace agreement says that the parties can choose their own internal candidates then forward the name [s] to the President for appointment”, Boboya told No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper in an interview on Tuesday.

“In this case what Riek Machar did is in the spirit and in accordance with the Revitalized Peace Agreement when he as a leader decided to choose a candidate to be appointed a s a governor for Upper Nile State that is General Johnson Olony, so that in itself is correct” he added, however, saying that “as experts, the President may also be right and say if they bring Johnson Olony there is going to be problem but we cannot pre-empt something that has not happened”.

Edmund Yakani the Executive Director for Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), told this paper that “this political stalemate should be resolved through dialogue between the government and the SPLM-IO because the agreement has an impression of dialogue between the parties whenever they reach a dispute over personalities. But off course the agreement has not given any power among the parties to deny the nominee of other party because the agreement. He is [Johnson Olony] not going to be a free governor he is going to operate under the system of the President. And he cannot challenge the way the country’s peace and stability will be. I urge the President and First Vice President to dialogue with the political parties to resolve the political vacuum in Upper-Nile state”. Asked whether bringing Johnson Olony as the governor of Upper Nile State would minimize conflict he said “obviously that is it….I think bringing him on board is a management of the fear that came in. So that at least they will not be standing outside there as a player that we fear about his role. So we can grind the peace implementation that gives us a chance to mitigate the fears that the threat that we think he will pose against peace and stability in the country. But I don’t think anybody who has a chance to become a governor you operate in your own way without commitment to the spirit of the peace agreement whether it is Olony or not Olony any governor must operate in line with the provision of the peace agreement’.

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