MALAKAL – South Sudan’s community of Apadang have reiterated their rejection of what they said would be an imposition of SPLM-IO’s Upper Nile state gubernatorial nominee, General Johnson Olony Thabo, who they have described in a statement as a tribal-minded individual.
Olony who hails from Upper Nile state’s Chollo community is the commander of SPLA-IO forces in the oil-rich region and was nominated by Dr. Riek Machar Teny, South Sudan’s First Vice-president and SPLM-IO leader, for Upper Nile state governor in June.
However, Kiir rejected to appoint him, saying the opposition commander, who was once his ally, is a warmonger who he said would hamper reconciliation efforts between the bitter Upper Nile state ethnic groups.
The Apadang community has rejected his nomination, but a section of the ethnic Dinka group close to the main armed opposition under Machar have issued several statements in the past endorsing him.
Last week, Kiir asked Machar to sign an oath in writing to accept any responsibility if Olony’s appointment would result in conflict in the state. Machar’s group has categorically rejected and is showing no signs to change of position on the president’s request.
While there are signs that Olony will be appointed, the Apadang community issued a statement on November 18, reiterating their rejection of General Johnson Olony accusing him of waging tribal conflict against them.
“The Padang community in Malakal would like to make its position clear to both the Government of South Sudan and the International Community that we will not accept the imposition of Johnson Olony to the position of Governorship of Upper Nile state since he has been weighing tribal war against the Padang community of Upper Nile, because he has publicly announce in his interview with the Brigadier General Malak Ayuen in 2013 that he took arm against the Padang community of Upper Nile State and he will not relent until he has taken over the Shilluk land from Padang in the Eastern Bank of Nile River,” they said in a statement extended to Sudans Post.
“Therefore, there is no way you could appoint tribal minded militia and war monger to such crucial position and you expect him to champion peaceful co- existence in Upper Nile state, we will only accept neutral person to be Governor if you need peace and tranquility to prevail in this State,” they added in the statement.