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Kiir, Machar to meet soon over Olony’s appointment as Upper Nile governor

July 4, 2020 (JUBA) - South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and his first deputy Riek Machar will meet soon to discuss the appointment Johnson Olony as the Upper Nile State Governor, stated James Dak, Machar’s spokesman on Saturday.

Rebel commander Johnson Olony speaks to the press upon arrival at Juba international airport on 13 June 2013 (ST)

On 29 June, Kiir appointed the governor of eight states, except the governors of the Upper Nile and Jonglei states.

Asked about when the SPLM-IO leader and First Vice President would nominate the Upper Nile governor, his spokesman told Sudan Tribune that the Machar did submit the nominees for the three states on 24 June.

"Unfortunately, Johnson Olony for Upper Nile state was not appointed. We do not know why he was not appointed," said James Dak.

"I hope His Excellency President Salva Kiir Mayardit and His Excellency, the First Vice President, Dr Riek Machar, will soon resolve the matter as leaders of major parties.

"We submitted names of our three nominees for the gubernatorial positions for the states of Upper Nile, Western Equatoria and Western Bahr el Ghazal. We did it since 24 June 2020," he further said.

In July 2017, Machar appointed Olony who belongs to the Shilluk Kingdom of the Upper Nile state as the governor of the SPLM-IO controlled Fashoda state,

The general and his Shilluk militia defected from President Kiir’s army and joined the SPLM-IO in May 2015 after a three-day attack on the government forces in and around Malakal.

The Shilluk political and tribal leaders are frustrated with their marginalization of the South Sudanese government, after the eruption of the civil war in December 2013.

Olony’s appointment can help remediate this situation, say observers.