The Politics of the SPLM-IG and the rejection of Johnson Olony’s appointment

Opinion | By Juol Nhomngek Daniel, from the SPLM-IO desk, Lakes State

SPLM-IO nominee, General Johnson Olony and members of the opposition posing for a group picture | Photo: File
SPLM-IO nominee, General Johnson Olony and members of the opposition posing for a group picture | Photo: File

September 12, 2020 (Thessherald)–The rejection of General Johnson Olony to be Decreed the Governor of the SPLM-IO in Upper Nile State should be understood as Political not as for Security reasons as claimed by the President Kiir..

For the last months, the SPLM-IG has been playing the game of hide and seek in attempt to destroy the Agreement while pointing at the SPLM-IO. The SPLM-IG is just capitalizing on the public perception against the SPLM-IO not the reality as shown by the existing facts on the ground.

The facts show that the SPLM-IG is not ready for the implementation of the SPLM-IG in letter and spirit. For the last years the SPLM-IG has been dragging its feet which makes the Agreement remain behind schedule.

On September 12, 2020, the Agreement will have two years since it was signed and it was supposed to commence immediately on September 12, 2018 but the SPLM-IG is not ready for that. It has been deploying several tactics ranging from extension of the Agreement and overstepping its as the Agreement provides.

For instance, the President has equal powers with the First Vice President according to the Agreement but the SPLM-IG members don’t get this clearly as seen in the case of General Johnson Olony.

The Agreement is clear in Article 1. 5. 1. Which refers the Executive of the RTGoNU that shall comprise the President, the First Vice President and other four Vice Presidents as Presidency.

Article 1.9.6 .1.1. of the Agreement further provides that Decision Making in the Presidency shall be in spirit of collegial collaboration.
According to Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, collegiality is defined as, “the cooperative relationship of colleagues.” collaboration as, “to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor. The collegial collaboration is therefore the relationship of openness, trust, and support of each other in their duty.

The appointment of the Governors by each party should therefore be respected unless there is genuine reason why each party refuses as seen in the present case of the SPLM-IG rejecting the Nominee of the SPLM-IO.. If the President refuses to issue the decree confirming the designated Governor of the SPLM-IO as it is witnessed in the present case of General Johnson Olony, the President must give strong reasons which are not like the current reasons in rejecting General Johnson Olony.

For better understanding, since July 2020 when the Chairman and the First Vice President, His Excellency Dr Riek Machar nominated General Johnson Olony to be decreed as the Governor of Upper, the President and some of the members of the SPLM-IG have so far rejected the appointment on some grounds.

President Kiir has so far refused to confirm the appointment of General Johnson Olony that he was going to cause the war as he has his own army. Because of that the Office of the President described Johnson Olony as an opposition officer who plans to spoil the peace process.

Also, that General Johnson Olony must come to Juba before he is appointed but this is just double standards. How come some Governors were appointed when they were outside South Sudan why General Johnson Olony alone? This is not genuine reason.

On the above two grounds, President Kiir asked the SPLM-IO the Chairman of the SPLM-IO Dr Riek Machar to change his candidate for Upper Nile state’s governorship for security reasons.

As it can be understood in the above paragraph, President Kiir rejected the nominee of the SPLM-IO for the Governorship of Upper Nile State mainly for security reasons, which is not also strong ground.

If the rejection is because of Security then three quarters in the Government of South Sudan would have not been working in the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU).

Within the Ministers and two Vice Presidents nominated and appointed by the SPLM-IG and who are currently working in the current half formed Government (TGoNU), there are those who are not supposed to work in TGoNU because they are part or behind the war in South Sudan and can therefore be considered security threats to South Sudan.

In addition, some of those SPLM-IG Ministers and Vice Presidents are still being citied today in the plan to work against the Revitalized Agreement with intention of destroying it as they don’t want the Agreement to be implemented in letter and spirit.

So there is a real sabotage being staged by the SPLM-IG to make sure that the Agreement fails and then blame Dr. Riek Machar, the SPLM-IO leadership and general membership for being responsible for it failure.

The SPLM-IG has been playing that trick since 2013 by using the historical background of Dr Riek and negatively sell him to the public that Dr. Riek Machar does not love peace or his interest is only to get power which the masses are ready to accept like the Biblical Truth.

In reality, the facts existing show that the rejection of General and other activities the President and the Members of the SPLM-IG include the rejection of Johnson Olony is politics rather than security reasons as the President puts it because of the following reasons:

Frst, the SPLM-IG or the Incumbent TGoNU is not implementing the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (Revitalized Agreement) but the SPLM-IG members are trying to implement their plan to defeat the SPLM-IO or to weaken it.

The plan of the SPLM-IG to weaken the SPLM-IO explains why the SPLM-IG members are buying the SPLM-IO members and while others are campaigning to make sure that the members of the SPLM-IO defect from the SPLM-IO and rejoin the SPLM-IG.

The examples to support the above assertion are many. One of them is the attacks on the Members of the SPLM-IO in Lakes State verbally and directly as seen during the cracks down of the Members of the SPLM-IO in Lakes State.

Many SPLM-IO supporters and members in Lakes State were arrested though some of them were released recently in Military Intelligence Prison at Gida in Juba while others are still under detention in unknown detention Centres in South Sudan at large.

In the same line, we have recently witnessed and heard the calls in Lakes State by the SPLM-IG Women’s Representative who called for the SPLM-IO members to leave Lakes State peacefully. That call led us to issue press in response to that call.

Moreover, some members of the SPLM-IO from Nuer Community have been bribed or bought that led to their mass exodus or defection and rejoined the SPLM-IG in March and April 2020.

In addition, Ambassador Telar was rejected by the SPLM-IG from being appointed as the Governor of Lakes State not because he is security threats but the SPLM-IG feared Ambassador Telar because he is influential and can easily mobilize many people from Lakes State to join the SPLM-IO.

The same thing is being witnessed in the rejection of General Johnson Olony that he is security threats which is not true because Ambassador Telar was not in charge of any forces like General Olony yet the President rejected him until he took away Lakes State from the SPLM-IO.

Lakes State was allocated to the SPLM-IO before it was again taken away and replaced with Western Equatoria and Western Bahr El Ghazal. Thus, I am wondering at the reason for the SPLM-IG rejecting General Johnson on ground he is security threats yet Ambassador Telar was not a security threat in Lakes State yet the SPLM-IG rejected him.

Therefore, the rejection in my opinion is more of a political than security. The interpretation is that the SPLM-IG is trying by all means to weaken the SPLM-IO Politically. This is because the SPLM-IO has remained as the only strong opposition compare to SSOA, OPP and FDs that have been absorbed into the SPLM-IG by implication.

Furthermore, the rejection is Political because the SPLM-IG is not interested in implementing the Peace Agreement as it may lead to some of them losing the political power. This is because some of the influential members within the SPLM-IG or the Incumbent TGoNU are not ready to implement the Revitalized Agreement in letter and spirit at their own expenses.

The implementation may lead to them introducing the rule of law and then losing power as a result of the strict implementation of the Agreement. Hence, the SPLM-IG are trying to play politics to weaken the SPLM-IO through taking it’s strong members away or through denying the SPLM-IO members real power as seen in the case of Ambassador Telar and the current conflict over the appointment of General Johnson Olony.

At the same time, the SPLM-IG has controlled finances so that the Ministers appointed by the SPLM-IO don’t possess financial power to implement the SPLM-IO activities alongside their national function.

Ir is in that respect, The SPLM-IG is rejecting the idea that the Ministry of Finance should be allocated to the SPLM-IO in Western Equatoria State in violation of the Agreement. The Agreement among the Parties is very clear, the State allocated to each party must be allocated together with Ministry of Finance, which the SPLM-IG is trying to renegotiate in the case of Western Equatoria.

The reason the SPLM-IG is trying to breach the above said Agreement among the Parties that the Finance Ministry follows the post of Governor is because the SPLM-IG is trying to weaken the SPLM-IO financially and hoping that the SPLM-IO will not have not financial powers to implement its own programmes.

The SPLM-IG is further hoping that the members of the SPLM-IO will give up and instead decide to rejoin the SPLM-IG with time. It is the same thing the SPLM-IG does not want people to explain to the public their secret activities of trying to obstruct the implementation of the Agreement.

In relation to the same above explained sabotage, the method the SPLM-IG Members are using is sharing the blame without sharing the benefits that result from what cause they blame. As they have only accommodated the members of the SPLM-IO in the Government the SPLM-IG government officials including the President are not giving them financial or real power.

In the same line, the SPLM-IG officials in the Government are not ready for real reforms as provided in the Agreement and instead continue with their mismanagement of of the country as usual. But the majority of the SPLM-IO members are not ready to openly talk against those problems for the fear of being branded as people who are not ready for peace.

In doing that they have put the members of the SPLM-IO in delimma where they can’t talk for being viewed by the public as warmongers as well as due to the fear of raising some questions as to why should we the members of the SPLM-IO be talking yet we are in the same Government..

The foregoing explanation will expose the plan of the SPLM-IG to destroy the Agreement while portraying the SPLM-IO as the party that loves war and only look for the power not reforms as we have been claiming. This time, the SPLM-IG is trying to deploy the same strategy..

Hope, from the explanation given in this work, the citizens of South Sudan will be able to understand why we the members of the SPLM-IO make noises while we are in the Government; we don’t need to be coopted into mismanagement.

In short, the rejection of the SPLM-IG of General Johnson Olony, the failure to form the complete Government of National Unity and the general slow process of the implementation of Revitalized Agreement is not the fault of the SPLM-IO but it is the method of President Kiir and his officials to destroy the SPLM-IO by selling it negatively to the Public which badly need peace.


The writer is a concerned South Sudanese citizen and member of the main opposition group, SPLM-IO.


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