NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 17 – The Foreign Affairs Ministry says Kenya has not been formally notified about the ban of foreigners from working in South Sudan.
Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho on Wednesday confirmed no formal notice had been sent to the Kenyan consulate in Juba or the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Nairobi on the ban.
The ban became public on Tuesday after widespread publication in South Sudan media.
“We have not received official communication; we also saw it on 411 (SMS breaking news alert service). We have tried to get in touch with their Embassy here,” he told reporters after opening a three week-long induction seminar for 25 recently appointed envoys.
Kibicho, who indicated he was not in a position to confirm the number of Kenyans working in South Sudan, said they would issue a detailed statement once they received the notification from Juba.
“What we were busy doing for the better part of this year is evacuating Kenyans from areas we thought put their lives in danger and therefore other than Juba we would not expect Kenyans to venture where we still have tension,” the Foreign Affair PS said.
A South Sudanese government statement in our possession says all foreign workers working in the war-torn country should vacate their positions by October 15 to be replaced by locals.
The statement signed by Labour and Public Service Minister Ngor Kolong Ngor targets those working in hotels, insurance companies, and banks among other organisations.
The institutions have been ordered to advertise the positions of executive directors, personnel managers, secretaries and head of human resource departments.
But Kibicho said he does not expect Kenyans to be affected by the latest stand.
“I don’t think that this affects Kenyans. We know that Kenya has invested heavily in South Sudan in areas that the country required support (including seconding staff to help set up their civil service) so I did not want to read more than there wasn’t,” Kibicho said.
Many are questioning the rationale behind the controversial move, citing statistics that show the literacy deficiency in the world’s youngest nation where only a quarter of the population know how to read and write.