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Upper Nile gubernatorial vacuum partly explained


The SPLM-IO says it did submit a nominee for governor of Upper Nile state but the President declined to appoint him.

According to the Press Secretary of the First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar nominated all the names of the governors for the three states allocated to the SPLM-IO.

But on Monday, President Salva Kiir announced the list of eight governors – six from his party and two from the SPLM-IO nominees.

He did not appoint the nominee for Upper Nile, the state allocated to the SPLM-IO, but contested by a section of the South Sudan Opposition Alliance.

Speaking to Eye Radio, Machar’s Press Secretary James Gatdet said they do not understand what happened.

“We submitted three names for the three states allocated to the SPLM/A-IO since the 24 June to the office of his Excellency the President. We do not know why only two were appointed,” Gatdet told Eye Radio.

When contacted by Eye Radio, the Press Secretary in the Office of the President, Ateny Wek Ateny, said the nominee SPLM-IO submitted is an active soldier.

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He said the President rejected the appointment of Johnson Olony as governor of Upper Nile State.

“He is a person who is still carrying arms, someone who still has not yet even come to Juba as one of those implementing the revitalized peace agreement,” Ateny claimed.

“So Johnson Olony is not in Juba; he is not within the territories that are controlled by IO or by the government.

“So to nominate someone who still live outside, who has refused to come to Juba, it is what is not acceptable. Either he is replaced or he shows the fact that he is implementing the peace agreement by coming to Juba, like Dr. Riek, who is here in Juba.”

But James Gatdet insists that the SPLM-IO has the right to nominate any candidate it believes is qualified enough to manage the state allocated to the party.

Gatdet argues that Gen Olony is still carrying arms “because he is a general in the SPLA-IO, which is a recognized army”.

“It is not new in South Sudan that we have officers who have opted to go for political positions; they have been appointed,” he stressed.

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On the question of being outside Juba, Gatdet stated that several other government officials were appointed while they were not in the country.

Some of them include the former deputy minister of interior, Mabior Garang, and the newly appointed governor of Western Bahr el Ghazal State, Sarah Cleto, who is currently in the United States.

“I don’t think that can be another genuine reason for him [Olony] not to be appointed. The SPLM-IO has the right to nominate their people according to the peace agreement and once that is submitted for appointment, then it should be respected,” Gatdet added.

According to the revitalized peace agreement, appointment of constitutional and judicial office holders including state governors is one of 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.

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