Machar scouts Odwar’s replacement
Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) is locked in a serious consultation to replace its former minister of mining Henry Dilah Odwar who decamped to the Magenis-based splinter faction Kit-Gwang in August.
The SPLM-IO Director for Information and Public Relations Puok Both Baluang told The City Review that the country’s main opposition outfit was mulling the process of replacing Odwar to fill the docket that has been vacant for nearly three months.
“There will be a new minister who will be appointed shortly after the conclusion of the consultation. We in the SPLM/A-IO, we do our things in special consultation and the leadership is still in consultation about the replacement of the former minister of mining, Henry Odwar,” Baluang told The City Review in a telephone interview yesterday.
He said some of the principles for qualification are patriotism and the need to work for the interests of the country, as well as the ability to manage the ministry.
“The people will be notified when the consultation is finished,” Baluang said.
Henry Dilah Odwar— the former minister of mining who served on the SPLM-IO ticket till August 2021—dumped the party’s chairman Dr Riek Machar Teny and joined the Kit Gwang faction under Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual, Machar’s former army chief-turned arch-rival.
Mr Odwar, who also served as SPLM-IO deputy chairman, tabled his resignation letter as the minister of mining in the Revitalised Government of National Unity on August 11, 2021, and did not provide expansive reasons for his resignation.
However, a document dated August 8, 2021, revealed that the former minister, together with seven other members from the SPLM-IO National Liberation Council and Political Bureau, pledged allegiance to the Gatwech-led group.
“We, the undersigned SPLM-(IO) members, in our various capacities in the PB, NLC, Committees, Country Representatives, and SPLM-(IO) passionate cadres, endorse the Kit-Gwang Declaration and give our blessings to the Interim leadership of Lt. Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual and his team to steer the movement and chart a more democratic and people-centred path,” their document stated in part.
“Notwithstanding all the above, we passionately appeal to all South Sudanese and, not least, the opposition groups to stand united and demand for just and lasting peace that will bring prosperity for all,” the statement continued.
The other three signatories to the document were Augustino Laku, Tut Puok Nyang, all members of the National Liberation Council, and Simon Aban Deng, an award-winning human and civil rights activist.
Shortly after joining the Kit-Gwang, Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual appointed Henry Odwar Dilah as the Head of the Political Bureau for the breakaway group.
In a statement shared with the media earlier in August, Gatwech said all members of the National Liberation Council were to report to the new chairman until the movement transitioned to a formal political arrangement.
He was the second senior SPLM-IO official to resign, after Mabior Garang De Mabior. Apart from Odwar and Mabior, some other officials who defected from Machar to the rival faction include Goi Jooyul Yoi, a member of the Political Bureau and Chairperson of the Committee for Education, Science, and Technology.
The other defectors were the party’s representative to the United Nations, Ukuni Michael Paulino, a member of the Foreign Relations and former Representative to Ethiopia, Jordan Manpiny Long, and the Executive Director of the Relief Organisation of South Sudan. Dr John Kuek.