East African MPs call on Community to take firmer hand with South Sudan leaders

November 21, 2016 5:38 pm
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The East African Legislative Assembly Speaker addressing the press in Nairobi/CFM
The East African Legislative Assembly Speaker Daniel Kidega, flanked by members of his House, addressing the press in Nairobi/CFM

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 21 – East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) Speaker Daniel Kidega on Monday called for unity and reconciliation to resolve the current South Sudan leadership crisis.

Kidega told the press at a briefing held at Parliament Buildings on Monday, that they are concerned by the continued ‘political confusion’ in Africa’s youngest state.

“We are an Assembly are very concerned about the political confusion in our newest member state — the Republic of South Sudan — we appeal to all the concerned parties, particularly the elected government which sits in Khartoum, to make sure peace prevails and provides opportunity to the South Sudanese to be fully integrated into the EAC process.”

The Regional House Speaker urged the East African Community (EAC) Head of States to intervene and help restore stability adding that a crisis in any of the EAC member countries impacts critically on to the economy of all the member states.

“South Sudan is part of the EAC, whatever happens in any part of the EAC, affects the totality of the community.” Kidega stated.

“You might be aware that when we saw some political challenges in the Republic of Burundi, the EAC swung into action through the Summit and the Plenary.”

Kidega however tactfully sidestepped the circumstances that led to the Kenyan government withdrawing its troops from the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan (UN-MISS) in response to the sacking of the Kenyan commander of the UNMISS force.

“In the words of His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta, we are not just a group of nations; we are a community. We are therefore very concerned about peace in South Sudan, and parties to this treaty committed to cooperate on security matters,” he said.

“The details of why the troops were withdrawn are well beyond my sphere of understanding. We leave issues of Generals to the Generals.”

Kenya had more than 1,000 soldiers deployed in South Sudan.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon sacked the Kenyan commander Lieutenant General Johnson Mogoa Kimani Ondieki for failing to protect civilians.

This followed a special UN investigation which blamed Ondieki and a “lack of leadership” in UNMISS for the “chaotic and ineffective response” to the violence in the capital Juba in July.

The damning report also accused UN peacekeepers of abandoning their posts and failing to respond to pleas for help from aid workers under attack in the Terrain Hotel, less than a mile from a UN compound.

Dozens of people were killed between July 8 to 11, and at least five foreign aid workers were raped when between 80 and 100 uniformed soldiers overran the Hotel.

A civil conflict erupted in South Sudan in December 2013, but President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar signed a peace deal in 2015 that was meant to halt the fighting, but it failed to stick.

Machar has since left the country and sporadic clashes have continued.

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