JUBA – South Sudan President Salva Kiir has returned former Warrap state governor, Bona Panek Biar to the military and promoted him to Lieutenant General.
Biar served in several capacities in the government under president Kiir. He first served as an officer with the special branch of the national security service from where he rose to the rank of Brigadier General before moving to the army and became a Major General.
He served in the army until 2015 when Kiir split the country into smaller administrative units, allowing him to appoint Biar as the first governor of Twic State.
The ex-governor was removed and returned to the army and became deputy director in the directorate of military intelligence. In 2020, he was again appointed the first governor of Warrap after Kiir recanted his presidential order and returned the country to 10 states, and created three administrative areas.
He was abruptly relieved from his duties in Warrap before forming a cabinet and replaced with a military governor, Aleu Ayieny Aleu. Biar returned to Juba and was returned to active military service and became a director of pension at the general headquarters.
Critics, however, say the way Kiir makes decision suggests his lack of interest to transform the military into a professional and conventional army in which crossing to political life takes place once.
“We do not understand anymore how the president is running the military these days. Every day something happens. This month it was his office manager whom he promoted from nowhere to the rank of a general in the army and now he has promoted Bona Panek into the rank of lieutenant general. This is a person without a proper military background. No training, no experience, nothing”, said an analyst.
He added, “Bona Panek was with SRRA (Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Association, a relief wing of the rebel movement during the war of liberation) when I was already a captain. I am now a colonel, and this person has been all over as the politician, as security, then again in the army, then to politics, and now again in the army and he has been promoted to the rank of lieutenant general. You cannot believe it”.
A military officer at the general headquarters wondered why promotions are done through the media.
“As an institution, we don’t get things through our channels,” the officer told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday.