By Deng Vanang

Upper Nile State among ten States is still the only one without its head or Governor. Governor’s absence not the common interest of its majority citizens.

It is rather due to Presidency’s failure to reach a compromise on who is the right candidate for a Chief Executive of multy-ethnic state of Jikany Nuer, Shiluk, Dinka Padang, Maban and Koma.

Four ethnic groups minus Dinka Padang voiced no objection to General Olony’s Governorship.

Dinka Padang say no, pointing to the publicly known land dispute between them and Shiluk Kingdom.

President Salva Kiir Mayardit sided with Dinka Padang, saying he is for peace and can’t allow any potent symbol of voilence to take charge anywhere in South Sudan, leave alone General Olony in Upper Nile State. To him, Olony is the voilent man he can’t entrust with an opportunity to kill more.

Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon as SPLM/A-IO’s leader and nominating authority couldn’t hear any of this shenanigan by Kiir, saying he has no replacement for Olony.

While Kiir and Machar have now stuck with Olony, little do the public know why the hardened positions of the two principals over one man, Johnson Olony Thabo.

First, it is not true Olony can cause conlfict and destroy his own-led Empire once appointed Governor as Kiir seems to insinuate. No sane mind can do such a thing. And Olony is not known to be insane.

What holds water, however, is him{Kiir} being constitutionally bound and hence right in his decision not to appoint anybody people will be killing themsevles in his name whether in Upper Nile or elswhere in the Republic of South Sudan. Although at the bottom of his heart, it is not what he means. I will explain it later.

Furthermore, four Dinka Pdadang County Commissioners petitioning President Kiir ealier not to appoint Olony as the Governor and the following assassination of Justice Thomas Abhan Akol, a Shiluk, clearly marked Padang as still aggrieved party and likely suspect to cause war in the event Olony becomes Governor.

Pointing to the naked reality that both Kiir and Padang don’t want any Shiluk Governor in Upper Nile State, let alone Olony and even if that happens, they will accept another Shiluk alternative grudgingly.

For they fear and view any Shiluk Governor as the radical who will pull off and throw into the dustbin of history any semblance of influence or control they{Dinka Padang} have established in the Eastbank, including Malakal in their  short stint heegemony there during 32 States’ era.

Instead, Kiir in particular, desperately wants to drive a wedge between Machar and Olony.

Him not appointing Olony Governor, then the later and Shiluk constituency will remain in the bush renewing war against him and South Sudanese State.

They will as well link up with other IO holdut faction in Khartoum to form a formidable movement that will oust and isolate Machar as a betrayer.

To which Kiir thereafter reaches in a separate peace deal, having already separated them from Machar.

That being the reason why Machar is stuck to Olony and at all cost wants him Governor to control him against rebelliously remaining in the bush on his own terms.

In so doing, Machar is not in love of Olony, who when becomes Governor, will be in the hand of Kiir’s security personell who will not 100% guarantee his physical safety.

In fact, Machar worries less about Olony’s death and indeed he is better off with dead Olony than him slipping into the dangerous hands of IO’s holdout reminants and subsequently ending up in Kiir’s corner in a future peace pact.

On the other hand, Olony has his own plan neatly cut out. He wants to be Governor sworn into office not in Juba, but via Zoom and governs Upper Nile State not in its traditonal seat of Malakal, but in either Fashoda or Tonga. Something constitutionally impossible.

What can break this impase is an urgent need for a reconciler than just Governor to reconcile and unite warring Shiluk and Dinka Padang over Eastbank of the White Nile, each side claims to own.

Such reconciler is a strong peronality Nuer Governor in this crisis-prone period, while Olony’s chosen Shiluk Minister be appointed in Juba-based R-TGONU. 

Deng Vanang, UDRM’s Secretary- General and member of SSOMA Leadership Council

Cordially reachable

The views expressed in the articles or analyses on The Nile Chronicle are personal opinions. The veracity of the information or claims contained in them is the responsibility of the authors.

To publish articles, analyses, comments or any other materials, please use :