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Kenyan MPs criticise Kenyatta over “red carpet” reception for S. Sudan rebel leader


June 6, 2014 (NAIROBI) – A small group of Kenyan MPs critical of president Uhuru Kenyatta have criticised what they said was a “red carpet” reception given to South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar during a six-day visit to the country last week.

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South Sudan’s former vice-president and leader of the SPLM in Opposition, Riek Machar (L) gives a joint press statement with Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta in the capital, Nairobi, on 30 May 2014 (ST)

The South Sudanese former vice president and armed opposition leader was invited to the State House in Nairobi and was warmly welcomed by President Kenyatta during which the two leaders discussed way forward in the peace process in South Sudan between the rebel group and president Salva Kiir’s government.

However, five MPs protested on Thursday a week after Machar’s visit, saying the honoured reception given to the rebel leader was an insult to the South Sudanese sitting elected president in the name of President Salva Kiir.

The protesting legislators included Kibra MP Ken Okoth, Wajir South MP Abdulahi Diriye, Ndhiwa MP Agostinho Neto, Matungulu MP Stephen Mule and Senator Daisy Kanaiza.

“South Sudan still has a legitimate government headed by His Excellency Salva Kiir, his problems notwithstanding. Kenya should therefore be working with the elected leaders of South Sudan,” Kenyan Daily Nation quoted the MPs as saying.

The MPs also said any talks held in Kenya should be attended by “both President Kiir and Dr Machar to avoid creating suspicions.”

“It is bad that a rebel leader in the person of Dr Machar should be given red carpet reception in Nairobi as that might portray Kenya as a partial peace arbiter,” they argued.

The group, who are members of the parliamentary human rights caucus, also want the IGAD member countries to pass a resolution to transfer the peace negotiations to Nairobi from Addis Ababa, arguing that Kenya midwifed the initial process and the regional body is chaired by President Kenyatta.

“Should we do the above, Kenya will be fairly overseeing the implementation of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement,” the MPs stressed.

They also attacked President Kenyatta, accusing him of failure as IGAD chairman to ensure implementation of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement between Kiir and Machar.

However, another MP representing a Nairobi constituency downplayed the criticism uttered by the group saying this was an “internal politics as usual”, saying President Kenyatta had done the right thing by warmly welcoming the rebel leader.

The MP counter-argued that in order for peace to come to South Sudan the Kenyan president had the right and obligation to consult with both government and opposition leaders in a way that should portray neutrality in the conflict.

“Kenya has always been neutral in the Sudanese conflicts, and this has earned it respect and leverage to successfully mediate such conflicts even in the past,” he said.


The MPs of five also submitted a motion to parliament requesting that the former 11 SPLM detainees led by the former secretary general, Pagan Amum Okiech, should be expelled from Windsor Hotel in Nairobi describing them as “selfish” people who have engaged in a “third bloc political reorganisation, which does not help in the peace process” to end the war.

The protesting MPs further wanted cabinet secretary, Joseph ole Lenku, who is in charge of the national security docket, to expel the 11 former detainees and demand they seek asylum by following normal procedures.

“The said leaders were to help in the peace process and the negotiations taking place in Ethiopia, and not live in opulence at the expense of the Kenyan taxpayers. They are engaging in selfish political reorganisation that does not help South Sudan,” the MPs said in a joint statement.

The former detainees were initially allied to Machar, but changed their mind after their release despite efforts exerted by the rebel leader to secure their freedom.

The group has opted to form what they called a third bloc and refused to join either side in the conflict. However, their participation to make an impact in the peace process has always been blurred as the two warring parties dominate the terms of the talks.

Analysts say the attitude adopted by the group is an attempt to make them look like “good guys” in the eyes of the international community with the hope that they may snatch the leadership of the proposed transitional government should Kiir and Machar be forced to step aside.

However, the decision to remain neutral has also earnt the group criticism, with some describing them as mere “opportunists”.


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  • 6 June 2014 07:50, by Lotodo Awino Odug

    Riek probably told Uhuru beforehand that he and his cabinets will be on both payrolls of Kenya and South sudan when he becomes the president of South sudan. Kenyans being food lovers like Nuer bought the idea with kitu kidogo and refined gizeri plates.

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    • 6 June 2014 08:42, by Mi diit

      Or maybe thief Kiir Kuethpiny paid the five Kenyan MPs to make noise in parliament against president Uhuru Kenyatta. Kenyan president knows that Dr. Riek Machar is far more visionary leader than illiterate Kiir whom he knows now for many years. So Kiir is in trouble for paying millions to 5 MPs and turned them against Kenyatta.

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      • 6 June 2014 09:31, by Bungachier 50

        CongratS!! Kenyan MPs. Nuers are "ANIMALS" inform of a human being. I am told that More than 1,000 IDPs entered Lakes State’s Rumbek East County, Amongping Payam. After less than a week, they (IDPs) youths who were allowed to enter with their guns started stealing the cows of the Host community. Are these Human beings?

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      • 6 June 2014 18:45, by Abyei Soil

        What good could that do to Riek the bloodest guy ever, I thinks Kenyan President should also thinks as to who is to honor for the sack of his people. Riek himself is a failure then who should follow the failed rebellion unlike nuer the frustrated citizens and greedy for power?

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    • 6 June 2014 11:10, by Simon Puok Nyang Tutjiek

      Dear brothers and sisters,
      The idea of federalism is the right thing, it the cored, the long awaiting President of Republic of South Sudan Dr. Riek Machar is the only man to stop this humiliation by Salva Kiir’ regime.
      The authoritative leadership under tyranny dictator Salva Kiir killed the citizen for the last eight years and the time has come for South Sudanese to said no to tyranny president

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    • 6 June 2014 11:35, by Simon Puok Nyang Tutjiek

      The reception of Dr. Riek Machar by H.E. Kenyatta in Kenya Capital Nairobi, only sent signal to killer that the world turned its back to the primitive, barbarian and short minded president who murdered over 20,000 civilian in 3 days(Juba Massacre), the world sighted him as criminal, only Russia and Cuba are doubting this terrible crime, otherwise South Sudan is on its collapse stage.

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  • 6 June 2014 08:00, by Bentiu son

    What a opportunism? The poor MPs Kibra MP Ken Okoth,Wajir South MP Abdulahi Diriye,Ndhiwa MP Agostinho Neto,Matungulu MP Stephen Mule and Senator Daisy Kanaiza should just eat their bribed blood money Salva Kiir genocidal regime bribed you with.Plz,do not make business with South Sudan internal problems.Your opportunistic stance revealed itself for attacking only those who against Salva Kiir.

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    • 6 June 2014 08:09, by Bentiu son

      You poor Kenyan MPs have no different with Salva Kiir mentor Yoweri Museveni of Uganda who forces are fighting along side Salva Kiir Gelweng,Koch Bany and Tiit Weng militias against our freedom fighters under Dr Machar,if you got power you would have involved militarily.Why against Dr Machar and former SPLM 11 detainees but Not genocidal regime of Juba? Self interest right? Waw! meddlesome lol

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  • 6 June 2014 08:01, by WendeMajok

    Thumb up for the MPs, that is a very wonderful concern. The foolish leaders are enjoying in Nairobi yet the citizens are dying to see peace coming back home. Don’t harm the relationship of South Sudan and Kenya!

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  • 6 June 2014 08:40, by John Sebit

    President Kenyatta is among the top 30th richest man in Africa, he is not after money like those MPs who want to praise president Kir’s fatal regime so as to lure some money.
    NB: Dr. John Garang quote; some people sees government as an object to be looted. Kir and his grouped have looted the government money and now they are using them to bribe MPs, arm forces like SPLA N. , JEM, UPDF, M23, etc

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  • 6 June 2014 13:38, by Ayuiu Makuac Lam

    Government of S. Sudan known already that Kenya president Uhru Kenyantta is behind Riek Machar rebellion. Measures will be taken shortly against Kenyantta otherwise he would be banned not to touch South Sudan soil because he is the first foriegn president who made a coup against president Kiir.

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