JUBA – The office of South Sudan’s First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny has reiterated calls for the immediate appointment of its Upper Nile state gubernatorial nominee, General Johnson Olony, saying the controversial opposition commander is a unifying faction who – according to a statement – the office said will advance reconciliation efforts between bitter communities in the oil-rich state.
Olony was nominated by Machar about six months ago, but he was not accepted for appointment by President Kiir saying the opposition commander is a warmonger who will hinder efforts by the coalition government to unite and reconcile the people of Upper Nile state.
In a statement this afternoon, Goanar Gordon Yien, the assistant press secretary at Machar’s office reiterated opposition calls for appointment of General Johnson Olony dismissing social media speculations that the planned Upper Nile state conference which was agreed upon by President Salva Kiir and Machar last month would discuss a replacement for Olony.
“SPLM/SPLA-(IO) would like to make it clear to its members, cadres and the people of South Sudan at large that, the Conference’s main objective is for reconciliation and healing among the communities of Upper Nile state,” the statement said.
“The conference however has nothing to do with the appointment of Gen Johnson Olony Thabo,” it added.
The statement further said the group was waiting for the appointment of General Johnson Olony, and does not know why he was not appointed along with six state deputy governors announced by President Salva Kiir Mayardit yesterday.
“The movement has been waiting for the announcement of Olony on (SSBC) as the Governor of Upper Nile State as well as formation of (TNLA) and the states Governments. We don’t know what caused the delay since we have had submitted all the lists,” it said.
“What has been circulating in media that the appointment of Gen Olony be done ‘during the upcoming Conference of Upper Nile State’ is untrue and a misleading information. His appointment should come out before the proposed Conference be held as it was agreed by the two principals, so that the governor participated in the process of reconciliation and uniting the people of Upper Nile State,” the statement added, pointing out that the opposition commander “is a unifying factor who is able to bring all communities together to work for peace and reconciliation in the state.”
“However, SPLM/SPLA-(IO) reassured its commitment to the Revitalised agreement on the resolution of the conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) in letter and spirit.”