Kiir set to appoint Olony for Upper Nile, reports SPLM-IO
Charles Wote and Joakino Francis, Juba
In a surprising announcement yesterday, the SPLM-IO announced it has received information suggesting President Salva Kiir has accepted General Johnson Olony as the new governor of Upper Nile State.
The SPLM-IO submitted General Olony’s name for the governorship in June, though President Kiir resisted accepting the appointment. Until now, Upper Nile State does not have an active governor.
The Presidential office justified the delay by describing Olony as an ‘active soldier who has not fully subjected himself to the political development in Juba’, who is not ‘within territories that are controlled by SPLM-IO or by the government’.
It has been suggested by numerous sources that General Olony has spent most of 2020 in Khartoum, Sudan.
Dr. Riek Machar and the SPLM-IO have rejected these claims, asserting that above all ‘a general in the SPLA-IO which is a recognised army’.
Despite this, senior members of the SPLM-IO claim they have received confirmation that the President will accept Olony’s appointment.
In part, this may be due to the problems caused by a state such as the Upper Nile being devoid of gubernational leadership for so long.
In a statement to the press on Monday morning, Minister of Petroleum Puot Kang implored the President to ‘speed up the appointment of General Olony so that they [the Upper Nile] are not left behind’.
Such calls coincide with an increase in violence in Upper Nile State, marked by a number of murders and violent attacks in Malakal over recent weeks.