United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki moon, during a recent visit in Africa. Photo/UN
By PATRICK MAYOYO
Kenya has disengaged from the South Sudan Peace Process following a decision by the United Nations to dismiss its General who is the Force Commander of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
The country has also decided to withdraw, immediately, Kenyan troops currently in deployment in South Sudan, and discontinue plans to contribute to the Regional Protection Force.
A terse statement from the Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed said Kenya had rejected the UN decision to dismiss Lt. Gen. Johnson Ondieki, as well as the offer to nominate a replacement.
“The Government of the Republic of Kenya has learned, with dismay, of the decision by the United Nations Secretary General, Mr. Ban Kimoon, to dismiss Lt. General Johnson Mogoa Kimani Ondieki, of Kenya, as Force Commander of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS),” the statement said in part.
It added that Kenya took exception to the decision to dismiss Lt. General Ondieki and the proposal by the United Nations Secretary General to have him replaced by another Kenyan.
“The Government of Kenya is convinced that the manner in which the United Nations and its Independent Special Investigation have handled this grave matter, will not address the root causes of the unfortunate incidences in South Sudan nor does it offer a sustainable solution to the recurring violence in South Sudan,” the statement added.
Ms Amina said that what was clear was that UNMMIS suffers from fundamental structural and systemic dys-functionality, which has severely hindered its ability to discharge its mandate since its inception.
“Regrettably, instead of addressing these shortcomings directly, the United Nations has instead opted to unfairly attribute them to a single individual, in the name of the Lt. General Ondieki,” she said.
The CS said the UN action was not only wrong but also insulates the Department PeaceKeeping Operations (DPKO) from the hard questions it needs to answer, and the responsibility it must shoulder to facilitate the proper management of UNMISS.
“Sadly, this adds to a repertoire of similar incidents in the past,” she notes.
Ms Amina said the process leading to the unfortunate decision to dismiss Lt. General Ondieki not only lacked transparency but did not involve any formal consultation with the Government of Kenya.
“This demonstrate complete disregard of our key role and responsibility in South Sudan,” she stressed
The CS observed that the manner in which the information was conveyed to the Government of Kenya revealed a high degree of disrespect and lack of confidence in Kenyan troops and their contribution to regional peace processes.
“Consequently, it is apparent to the Government of Kenya that the continued deployment of its troops in South Sudan is no longer tenable and is inimical to their safety and well-being,” she said.
Consequently, the CS said Kenya had rejected the decision to dismiss Lt. General Ondieki, as well as the offer to nominate a replacement.
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