Juba, South Sudan,
May 2, 2021 — The powerful SPLM/A-IO Chief of Staff, 1st Lt. Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual, confirms that Lt. Gen. Johnson Olony Thabo has promoted himself to 1st Lt. General due to administrative issues within the movement but said it’s the Chairman and Commander-in-Chief, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, that should be blamed, not Gen. Olony.
On a positive note, Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual reiterated that Gen. Olony and Agwelek forces are not defecting from the SPLM/A-IO yet but as leader of his own forces, Olony had to promote himself and his forces.
“He promoted himself and his men in the Agwelek Division because Dr. Riek Machar promoted officers without consulting or telling me who is the Chief of Staff and also not telling Gen. Olony,” Gen. Gatwech said.
Speaking to a local radio station, Gen. Gatwech backed Olony’s decision although he believes it is wrong but said the chairman has slept on the job and therefore the military leaders had to take law into their own hands and had to do what they believe is right.
“These are administrative matters. Gen. Johnson Olony promoted himself to First Lieutenant General because there are issues. ” Said the Chief of Staff of the SPLA-IO, 1st Lt. Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual.
“Gen. Olony has no problem. He joined the armed opposition, and the movement’s leader, Riek Machar, is not carrying out his requests and everyone in the movement agreed that Olony would be the governor of Upper Nile State, but Juba refused and Dr. Riek also refused, and this is one of the administrative reasons.” He continued.
“It is wrong but where did it start from? It started with Dr. Machar.” Gatdual said.
Asked if the Division One Commander, 1st Lt. Gen. Olony, may defect to the government side, Gen. Gatwech said such rumors are concocted lies.
“Let me tell you the truth. Olony has no contact and is not in talks with the government. He does not. Anybody who says Olony wants to defect to the government is lying. Those are just lies,” Gen. Gatwech said.
Speaking for himself and other military leaders, the Chief of Staff said they are not willing to step foot in Juba given that the security arrangement is not being implemented.
“He (Olony) knows that the peace agreement is not in place and that is why he cannot go to Juba. Even as the Chief of Staff, I cannot go to Juba. I can only go if there is implementation.”
“The issue written in the peace agreement that the forces should be taken for training, passed out and taken to Juba after nine months has not been implemented. Nine months elapsed, and another eight months and three months elapsed and this issue has not been implemented. No forces have been graduated and taken to Juba.” The elderly general continued.