By Duop Chak Wuol
July 5, 2020 (SSNA) — President Salva Kiir through his press office recently claimed that he is against the appointment of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) General Johnson Olony who is the nominee for Upper Nile State governorship. He alleged that the SPLA-IO General is anti-peace and that General Olony refused to allow his soldiers to be trained as a part of a unified national army stipulated in the September 2018 revitalized peace agreement. Kiir’s move does not just obstruct the appointment of Johnson, it is wrong, violates the agreement, and trades on fearmongering.
There are, of course, people who do not know why the President is acting in such a destructive way. But there are also a lot of people who know why he chooses to behave in such a seemingly anti-peace path. There are many fabricated and fear-based ideas that emerged on social media soon after the next Upper Nile State governor’s name, Johnson Olony, was publicized. Nearly all these allegations against the appointment of General Olony are unjustified. These groundless claims are, 1) General Johnson Olony will never go to Juba because his security is not guaranteed, (2) SPLM/A-IO leader Dr. Riek Machar must appoint a Nuer instead of Johnson—who hails from Shilluk, 3) Upper Nile should be run by Changson Lew Chang, who is one of the leaders of the so-called South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA), 4) Salva Kiir has the power to reject whoever Machar nominates, and so many more. All these assertions are a pack of lies in a different political outfit.
Analytically, there are merely many problems with these claims. First, Salva Kiir has many enemies. The notion that General Johnson Olony will not set foot in Juba because Machar cannot protect him from Kiir’s killing squad simply does not hold water. Here is why: Many South Sudanese political and military leaders are Kiir’s enemies and they are now in Juba. These people are now in Juba serving the very same tyranny they once fought against. It would be a mistake not to mention that most of these Kiir enemies have defected and are no longer part of the SPLM/A-IO. I know all their names. I am sure some of you do, too. Therefore, campaigning against the appointment of Johnson Olony—who is the SPLA-IO sector one commander just does not make any sense. You need a logical church to clean your seemingly sectional mind. Second, there is no need to appoint a Nuer. The SPLM/A-IO is not a Nuer organization. Losing your mind simply because a Nuer is not appointed is not a good reason to wage your case. This argument is too cheap to pursue. Third, many people know what Changson did when he went to the United States as a finance minister of the SPLM/A-IO. This man was given a lot of money (more than one hundred thousand United States dollars was given to him). I was one of the witnesses because I was there recording everything. After Changson left the U.S. for South Sudan, every SPLM-IO supporter was happy—assuming he was a good man who will use the money for the intended purpose. But there was a problem: This problem was that Changson secretly decided to keep the money for himself and created fake accusations against the armed opposition. It was then that many of us started to study him, this man cannot be a governor of the Upper Nile. His record is full of shameful baggage, Fourth, Kiir has no power to reject SPLM/A-IO appointees because the revitalized peace agreement denies him of the tyrannical system he always uses to appoint and remove people without an explanation. Remember there are many logical cases against Kiir’s warmongering decision. I suggest you read the pact carefully so that you can learn Kiir’s fearmongering strategy. What I find even more intriguing is the fact that most of the people who champion these claims are anti-Machar, who only support those who have already deserted the SPLM/A-IO. One wonders if they think with their bellies or minds. The political system of this country needs to be democratized.
Besides, those who lashed out at Machar are those whose uncles were not appointed (most of them have already defected). I am here to tell you that you need to balance national interests and your narrow way of thinking. You must also understand that people who always rush to judgment or those who think they deserve everything in any society are not good leaders. So please try to be rational before you wage your self-serving campaign and do not believe in a false assumption or campaign that Gen. Olony needs tight security in Juba as if he is the worst enemy of Kiir. We have a lot of Kiir’s worst enemies already in Juba and the Upper Nile State nominee is not an exception. This is all about implementing the lasting peace desperately needed in our country.
If you do not know why Kiir hates Olony, I would like you to know that in April 2015, General Bwogo Olieu—a deputy commander-in-chief to Olony was ambushed and killed in the northern part of Malakal. His killing stunned millions of South Sudanese because there was no plausible reason given after his demise. However, several government officials including one well-known South Sudanese political analyst whose name cannot be revealed here for his security disclosed to me that Gen. Bwogo’s killing was planned by Kiir and his inner circle. These sources also explained that the move to assassinate Johnson’s deputy was driven by the idea that Agwelek—an armed rebel bloc led by General Johnson Olony possessed heavy weapons and that eliminating his deputy would infuriate him, which would, in turn, cause him to wage war against the government and SPLA-IO forces at the same time. Their hope was all about weakening Olony and perhaps forcing him to fully submit to Kiir. As you can see, it can be concluded by any fair-minded person that Salva Kiir’s decision to stand in the way of Johnson’s appointment is not just total nonsense, it is also ideologically driven. No reasonable person needs to spend time trying to figure out why Kiir is against Olony’s appointment since his actions show he is back in his old base—a tyrannical mentality.
As I indicated before, President Kiir claims that General Olony does not want peace. This claim is purely a deceitful act, perhaps a naked lie to be exact. Why? General Olony has been 100% part of the SPLM/A-IO since May 2015. His forces are also the armed opposition troops. The peace agreement that Kiir is now using against Olony was also accepted by SPLM/A-IO leaders including General Olony himself. The SPLA-IO army is one bloc—Olony does not have his own. All those who are being trained as a part of a unified national military also include soldiers from the SPLA-IO sector one division led by General Johnson. So, the notion that General Olony is working against peace and that he wants to go to Juba with at least two thousand security personnel is an elaborate lie. Now tell me who would want such seemingly large security when the SPLM/A-IO’s leader, Dr. Riek Machar—who is already in Juba, went to Juba with less than one hundred security officers? If you think Olony needs heavy security because Kiir will kill him, then tell me why he did not kill his former enemies who shamelessly surrendered to him. Olony is a full-fledged SPLM/A-IO General. The idea that he is the worst enemy of Kiir is just a fake-up assertion designed by those whose uncles failed to secure positions. These are also the same people whose uncles defected, meaning they prefer Kiir over Machar although Kiir is the actual murderer who killed their relatives in December 2013 when Kiir’s political madness began. History will not spare Kiir, including anyone working for him. We cannot settle for cheap talks with those who only see facts when they are given positions. A thinking person can tell the truth even if he is not in a position of power. I have low respect for people who always change their original position based on self-interests. We must embrace national interests, not “give me food to play” even though such a play is irrational. The fact that Salva Kiir conducted the door-to-door killing of innocent civilians who happened to be Nuer in December 2013 will always remain the same because it is a fact—a bitter fact permanently embedded in his blood.
President Salva Kiir’s main goal is to deny General Olony the governorship he deserves. The agreement states all parties to the deal can appoint people based on rules and formulas dictated by the pact. The deal requires all parties to compromise, meaning there is room for a one-way decision. Kiir has no power to reject any SPLM/A-IO nominee since the only thing required from him is his signature. He is theoretically barred by the agreement, meaning he cannot sabotage the SPLM/A-IO decision. Preventing General Olony to become the governor of Upper Nile State amounts to a peace violation. Kiir still fears Olony, he hates him, and he wishes the General rejoins him even though he killed his deputy in cold blood in April 2015. The President is addicted to dictatorial rule. He already violated the peace by appointing South Sudan’s central bank governor, two deputy bank governors, and six ambassadors without consulting Machar as required by the revitalized agreement. This is what he wants to repeat. This mentality is a declaration of war. He cannot keep violating the deal and expect other parties to be complicit. This fearmongering that is being waged by Kiir must not be accepted by the SPLM/A-IO. General Johnson Olony must be Upper Nile Governor. Enough of Kiir’s nearly 15 years (August 2005-present) of tyrannical mindset.
Duop Chak Wuol is an analyst and editor-in-chief of the South Sudan News Agency. He can be reached at [email protected].