Contributor's Opinion

Opinion: Why Gen. Olony is the best candidate for Upper Nile State governor  

By is Kech Nguoth Tiem

SPLA-IO commander of sector one Gen. Johnson Olony and SPLM-IO Chairman Dr. Riek Machar in Pagak 2016 (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

July 7, 2020 (Nyamilepedia) – The writer of this article was motivated to give out his views about the above subject due to ongoing wrestling between the leadership and some Community actors regarding the appointment of Gen Olony Thabo as the Governor of Upper Nile through SPLA IO ticket as agreed in the Revitalized Peace Agreement.

In every GOVERNMENT or Country, the main objective of the government to assign politicians or Military personnel to various responsibilities is to make sure that the government provides security, food security, development, provisions of fair and inclusive leadership, and creation of conducive atmosphere to the citizens.

Logically, under no political interference from the author of this article, your fair and logical understandings, consideration and interpretation is highly needed for the benefits of our State and our Country at the same time. Even though many of my state men and women may deviate with my judgment, am quite certain, that some visionaries or apolitical analysts will join my argument in the future should the Country’s leadership and other leaders failed to embrace the appointment of Gen Olony as was nominated by main opposition in the Country.

I will appreciate and recognized those who will oppose this opinion with genuine and tangible evidence about the reason why they think the appointment of Gen Olony is harmful to the unity of Upper Nile citizens. Upper Nile State is one of the most diverse State in the entire country with four major tribes namely; Maban, Dinka, Shilluk and Nuer plus minorities like the Anyuak community who over the years been living in Malakal town, and North Sudan (Mulekia) business community-integrated as a resident of Upper Nile, governing this diverse State has never been easy and will never be easy no matter what under your argument.

As a citizen and a son of the mentioned State, who lived in its capital Malakal before the outbreak of this civil war which we are about to end, as a citizen who was very vigorous in both politics and social activities like sporting involving other State citizens from the above-mentioned communities, I strongly believed that Gen Olony is the right man for our beloved State during this difficult moment.

And I would challenge the Apandang Community leaders who publicly reject the appointment of Gen Olony with claims that the move will bring disunity amongst our diverse communities. Hence, I am not against the right of the Apandang as a community to speak their grievances, but specifically to the group who protested for their failure or inability as community leaders to see positively the benefits that their community may enjoy if Gen Olony becomes the Governor of Upper Nile.

In their protest letter which I keenly read, I saw the signatures of highly learned community leaders with two of them titled as PhDs holders. With much respect to them as they are my State highly learned leaders from our neighboring Apandang Community who shared some vital historical tied with us the Nuer Jikany of Upper Nile. But this cannot stop me from reminding them about their leadership failure to foresee the negative impact that their rejection letter would fuel and worsen the matter if their claim succeeded.

Honestly, I think they would have reserved and controlled their anger if they really mean to cultivate peaceful settlement of the land issue with their Shilluk brothers. I mean to said, they should have also known that this naked move may angered their Shilluk brothers which if they protest again to retaliate to Apadang protest would also amount to zero achievements of peace in the entire State no matter who comes as a governor from the other Upper Nile neutral communities.

They were not clear on the document circulated about who they think would be the right choice, but through hear said, people think a leader from Nuer or from Maban community may be the answer to a disputed issue. Let us be wise on this matter with our political and tribal differences behind us if we want peace in our State, otherwise, we will never smell any peace in our diverse State.

I assumed, every South Suddenness person is acquainted and understood that, in our various cultural, customary laws and traditions norms practiced in our societies before the modern applications of laws, the best way to in finding a lasting peaceful settlement amongst the warring neighboring community is to allow leading a person from the very rival elements involved so that he /she can neutralizes the situation.

Or else, it is only when research studies have been carried out that many conscious minds will believe the reality about said community representative because the applications of the world ‘s modern conflict resolutions strategies dictated predictions of impossibility problem solving before analyzing of data, the sample collected through research.

I will insist to defy the argument of those who try to convince the public and to influence the decision of the leadership for their favor when there was no legitimate ground to prove right their claims. Some likeminded will surely agree with me that conducting a research study first amongst the inhabitants of Upper Nile about the danger that some of our States members claim to have accompanied Gen Olony’s the appointment before jumping into the conclusion.

Am in favour of any of the community as I said it earlier, but I expect from our Elders to feed and educate us with authentic way of handling differences amongst our communities. This recent outbreak of bad politics which some political leaders are using for self or tribal motivation will not take our country forward.

If we cannot commit our efforts as leaders to ironed matters affecting our people instead opted for your community to be given a separate administrative area then it will send a very clear signal that our country is heading toward a direction worse than Somalia.

And by the way, what do you think the situation will look like if every community in South Sudan request and given their own administrative area? It will definitely tell you that we will have 63, and more tribal administrative areas or else we will have 63 Countries that will be at wars amongst themselves until the coming of Jesus unless our seniors’ citizens, Youths, and learned Elders refrained from negative communities or ethnic loyalties.

To me, if the case is for the land dispute between Shilluk and Dinka Community over Malakal town, then it will better be handled by a leader who comes from either Shilluk or from Dinka community at this specific point in time. And it is through the underlined reasons that made me disputes the argument of some political leaders claim that the situation at hand can better be managed by a neutral actor who may come from Nuer community.

To me, this is just a mere political design to divert the attention of the said community from standing their neutral ground and join the conflict in the pretext of leadership. The only Genuine reason according to me where a Nuer leader qualify as governor of Upper Nile is when we all agreed to consider the principle of democracy which said ‘Majority Rules Minority Right’ and this can better work initially if there was no rejection of a candidate from the from other community.

In real sense, the leader from a Nuer community or Maban will actually incur multiple leadership challenges when trying to mediate between the two warring communities because he or she will face a lot of protest from those who may not be favored by the laws during their dispute settlement process. Just take the past as your reference.

you will simply understand that, even during the time of Former Governor Simon Kun Puoch some years back before the onset of this current civil war, the same land issue was unresolved by the then governor who from the Neutral community because if it was resolved a long time ago then we cannot have it as a topic our today discussion.

Therefore, the choice to nominate a comrade like Gen Johnson was indeed a superb decision from SPLM IO leadership, and I will remain courageous to put more emphasis on the need for us to collectively support our State man to come as our governor regardless of our tribal or political backgrounds and judge him when he is in the leadership.

My readers from both warring communities especially the Youth from Dinka and Shilluk communities who know me pretty well will actual understands that I mean peace in rather than anything else, and I am sure that they will positively judge and consider my opinion as a neutral voice calling for a better solution to realizing peace in our State.

I strongly deemed that the leadership of SPLM IO to nominate Gen Olony as our State governor during this interim period was a wise leadership decision made by the opposition to answer this matter and I think it is better we support that move instead to criticize it.

In fact, the coming of Gen Olony to the leadership of our STATE at this dire time will be a great advantage to the Apadang community as per their land dispute with Shilluk people, because Gen Olony being a native from Shilluk Community who are contesting the ownership of Malakal with Dinka community under his leadership, this can simply tell you that the upcoming Governor will likely be siding with his Dinka brothers to cover up himself from being view as a leader who at a conflicting situation opted to side with his native community in a public office.

I think the wise Apadang Youth need to see that window if they mean to have been honestly trying to search for a better solution to that dispute. This naked truth carried in this article will serve as free and honest advisees to my State and Country Fellow youth who are wishing for a prosperous Upper Nile State and a peaceful South Sudan.

Unless you are pregnant with forming your own administrative area, that is when you will not value this as a crucial wake-up call. Since am part and parcel of those who are or will be affected if the instability in Upper Nile between the Shilluk brothers and Dinka brothers persist, I advise all the Youth from the diverse Upper Nile State to join and support the coming of the said candidate as Governor.

Politically, and socially, I personally have an equivalent number of friends and colleagues from Shillluk as well as from the Dinka within the SPLM/A-IO and in South Sudan as a whole and I assured each and every friend of mine from the mentioned communities that am committed and ready to work toward reconciling our aggrieved people and to believe that, it is only when you and I put on our State interest before our tribal interest that will earn our people better and conducive environment. It is you and I to return and reverse this challenging situation to yield positive opportunity for realizations of lasting peace in our State.

This is my neutral ground as a brother and as your State man from the Nuer Majority in Upper Nile, and as a leader from SPLM/A-IO a party tasked with responsibilities of leading part of our Country. I genially appeal to Upper Nile Youths, and senior political figures to put aside political and tribal interests when conducting to solve matters concerning our State.

The summation of the above realities I narrated above, brought me to consider that Gen Johnson Olony as the most qualified leader for the people of Upper Nile at this particular moment. I was able to know that Gen Olony possessed some unique leadership qualities which prompted his ability to run a successful leadership. The below paragraph is main for you to go through how, and why I prefer him as the right man to lead our diverse state at this crucial time.

As many of you may know, me as member of SPLM IO who served in various military and political assignments. During the past years, I learned and by working in the leadership positions and services, and came to know General Johnson Olony Thabo as a professional army officer and a very effective civil leader.

Gen Olony is an individual I have worked with when I was serving as a Commissioner of Ulang County, a position which I occupied for a good three years and during that lengthy period I had been throughout in contact or communications with him regarding the operations and maintenance of peace in the SPLM/A-IO control areas as he was my Governor from the neighboring defunct Fashoda State.

I identified him as a man who uniquely stands out. During the years I have known him, I also acknowledged the leadership he displayed, and this man has great talents in leadership which made him to successfully handle diverse volunteer SPLA IO fighters and for creating a conducive environment for Fashoda citizens whom he was also serving as a Military Governor and as a sector commander at the same time.

I was impressed with the leadership skills and the wisdom he has in managing both military and civilians affairs in the midst of insecurity and conflicts.., My first experience with Gen Olony was his adaptability to command and effectively leading forces with a diverse background, and forces who were serving under no payment or salaries when he was a sector commander.

This alone tells a lot about him because leading men and women serving voluntarily is always the most difficult type of leadership which only a few men and women with high morale, and courage performs better in such situations. I am absolutely confident that Gen Johnson Olony would best fit for Upper Nile Governorship especially in this particular situation our State or Country is in because the man is well equipped with all the qualifications needed in a state like Upper Nile which is engulfed with numerous land and political issues and conflicts.

Offering the leadership of Upper Nile State to a person like him will be a milestone to finding a lasting peace between the Dinka and warring Shilluk Communities amongst the other Upper Nile communities who for a very long time been fighting each other over land and other dispute. It will be a wise decision for our President Gen Salva Kiir to accept the appointment Gen Olony the SPLM IO governorship nominee for Upper Nile for two reasons;

1 – To confirm the claims from the Apadang Elders about Gen Olony that his coming will worsen the communal tensions between the two community. President would like to prove wrong or right the claims labeled against Gen Olony, and the president can be in a better position to answer the complaints raised by Apandang Elders after the person assumed the leadership instead of believing one side complaint.

2 –  For President to distance himself from accusations that may be labeled against him by Shilluk Community who may view the President to have taken a tribal position to backing the Dinka Community over the matter between people who are all his citizens.

Finally, I would like to clearly spot it that, I was enthused to share my views on this matter by a desire to seeing our people living in harmony. And this goes to my fellow Youth who are wishing for peaceful Upper Nile State. I conclude by appealing to each and every one in Upper Nile irrespective of your tribe or political party to disregard all those bad predictions, and claims that appointment of Gen Olony will disunite before the person assumed the office.

To erase this from repeating, let join hands to embrace his coming to the leadership and see him if he will fail to amicably cease the tension fitting his native community and against his fellow Dinka brothers who will be under him.

The author is a former Commissioner of Ulang County under SPLM/A IO. He is reachable via: kechnguth@rocketmail.com Peace!

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