December 11, 2013 (JUBA) - South Sudan president Salva Kiir is expected to join international leaders and dignitaries at Kenya’s 50th independence anniversary on 12 December, according to a statement from his office.
Kiir had travelled to South Africa to attend the memorial service of the country’s first post-Apartheid president, Nelson Mandela, on Tuesday.
The president’s spokesperson, Ateny Wek Ateny, confirmed that Kiir would attend Kenya’s independence celebrations but did not disclose whether he would travel directly to Nairobi or return briefly to Juba.
Senior officials at the country’s ministry of foreign affairs also did not provide any information giving details of the president’s movements, saying only that "he would return soon".
In Juba, citizens and government critics say the president Kiir might delay returning to the country so he avoids the upcoming public address by senior members of the ruling SPLM who are disillusioned with Kiir’s leadership.
"Politically, it will not be good that some of his colleagues addresses the rally about the performance of his administration and you expects security, especially those who see the president as source of their employment not to disrupt the rally so that they show their being in control and show that their man is not humiliated”, Dominic Uya, a native of Western Bahr el Ghazal state told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday.
Ngor Deng, a native of Northern Bahr el Ghazal, said president Kiir would not skip Kenya’s independence celebration because of the good bilateral relations between the countries.
Kenya achieved independence from the United Kingdom on 12 December 1963 and was declared a republic a year later.