South Sudanese President Salva Kiir on Monday reaffirmed his refusal to appoint the SPLM-IO candidate for Upper Nile state’s governorship.
Kiir has recently appointed governors for nine of the country’s 10 states under the state power-sharing arrangement. He, however, did not name a governor for Upper Nile.
Riek Machar’s party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO), had nominated General Johnson Olony as its candidate for Upper Nile state’s governorship, but President Kiir refused to appoint him.
The office of the president described Johnson Olony as an opposition officer who plans to spoil the peace process.
Speaking at the swearing-in ceremony of the newly appointed governor of Jonglei state, and two national ministers in Juba, Kiir asked SPLM-IO leader Riek Machar to change his candidate for Upper Nile state’s governorship for security reasons.
“What I want to say is that all the parties that have signed the agreement have their rights that should be respected. But what I want to make known to all of you is that, when it comes to the lives of the people in the country, it is the president who is responsible for them,” said Kiir.
He added, “If it is somebody who will cause fighting or conflict, like in Upper Nile, I say no because it will be on my neck later in the day. This is something I want to leave with comrade Riek to go and think over it and nominate another person of his choice.”
The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO) has not yet made a clear position on the issue of Upper Nile state governorship.
The main opposition group was allocated three states, including Upper Nile state, where the appointment of a governor is still pending.