President Salva Kiir wants Dr. Riek Machar to sign an agreement –similar to an affidavit– that will make Machar answerable to any undesirable incident that may arise when Johnson Olony is appointed governor of Upper Nile state.
“The appointment of Johnson Olony as a Governor of Upper Nile State is not an easy task,” Kiir is quoted telling clerics in a meeting on Friday afternoon.
In July, the President advised Dr. Riek Machar, who is also the First Vice President, against dictating the option for governor of Upper Nile state.
Kiir, who is still reluctant to accept General Olony as SPLM-IO’s choice for governorship now demands that Machar signs a letter of undertaking.
A letter of undertaking is considered to be a formal agreement between two parties in which one party provides assurance over a crucial matter.
In July, Kiir appointed and witnessed the swearing-in of all the nine governors and three chief administrators, but the governor for Upper Nile.
“If it is somebody who will cause fighting or conflict, like in Upper Nile, I say ‘no’, because it will be on my neck later in the day,” Kiir said at the ceremony.
Kiir’s office described Olony as an “active soldier who has not fully subjected himself to the political development in Juba, and is not “within territories that are controlled by SPLM-IO or by the government.”
Dr. Riek Machar’s office, however, dismissed the assertion, saying that Olony is “a general in the SPLA-IO which is a recognized army.”
But in a meeting with global church leaders and eminent personalities this Friday afternoon, Kiir said he would appoint Gen. Olony –only if Machar writes a letter pledging to take full responsibility –should any conflict arise at a later date.
Major General Olony is the commander of Agwelek forces that signed a military merger and incorporation into the SPLA-IO, under the leadership of Dr. Machar in June 2015.
Kiir maintains that Olony is not the best choice for the oil-rich state of Upper Nile.
The President insisted that he is not a member of SPLM-IO and that the “people of Upper Nile state do not want General Johnson Olony as their Governor.”
Last week, some internally displaced persons in Malakal protested over what they say is an increase in the number of targeted killings due to the lack of a governor.
They called on the President to specifically appoint Johnson Olony as their governor to contain the crimes.
However, President Kiir revealed that General Johnson Olony has ‘refused to come to Juba for his own reasons.”
The Office of the President had initially said Olony should come to Juba for the appointment and subsequent swearing-in ceremony.
General Olony reportedly said he should be appointed while in his current location in Upper Nile state.
President Salva Kiir, however, assured the religious leaders that he is ready to form State and Local Governments as soon as Machar and other part leaders submit the list of their nominees.
“I am still waiting for my First Vice President Dr Riek Machar to give me the handwritten undertaking letter as we have agreed,” he maintained.
When contacted, the SPLM-IO’s Director for Information and Public Relations, Puok Bok, said the nomination of Gen. Johnson Olony for Upper Nile governorship was based on the revitalized peace agreement.
The President also made assurances that “the country will not go back to war.”
According to the revitalized peace agreement, the appointment of constitutional and judicial office holders including state governors is one of the powers exercised by the President but in consultation with the First Vice President, and the four Vice Presidents.
The new peace deal also stipulates that decision making in the Presidency shall be in a spirit of collegial collaboration.
The constitution and the agreement also demand that the President preserve the security of South Sudan and protect its territorial integrity.
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