November 4, 2016 (JUBA)- South Sudanese armed opposition leader and the former First Vice President Riek Machar has regretted a decision taken by the Kenyan government Kenya to deport his spokesperson James Gadet Dak.
A Kenyan official for the first time admitted that Dak was deported over a Facebook posting where he applauded a decision by United Nations chief firing a Kenyan general commanding the UN peacekeeping forces in South Sudan.
" (Dak) became an inadmissible person, so we cancelled his visa and he was taken to his country of origin," Kenyan government spokesman Eric Kiraithe told The Associated Press.
Machar, according to several armed opposition figures, who spoke to Sudan tribune on Friday, called the Deputy Kenyan President William Ruto by phone on Thursday to plead with him not to deport his spokesperson to Juba, “due to profound fear for his life.”
“This was unfortunate decision. All attempts were made at the highest level. Our chairman, Dr. Riek Machar himself reached out personally to top authorities in the Kenyan government. He spoke to officials at the ministry of foreign affairs. He spoke to Kenya ambassador in South Africa. He also spoke to Deputy President William Ruto appealing to him in person that Gatdet not be deported to Juba. Unfortunately all these efforts and appeals were ignored. It appears that the Kenyan government decided to take side and abandon their role in the peace process”, a high ranking armed opposition figure told Sudan Tribune when reached on Friday to comment on the matter.
He expressed fear that decision of the Kenyan government to deport SPLM-IO official from Nairobi could have an impact on the peace agreement, given that Kenya was one of the countries which played a key role in the negotiation of the peace agreement which Machar and President Salva Kiir signed last year.
While government supporters were jubilant and appears in celebratory mood, supporters and sympathizers of armed opposition reacted with fury to the news of Gatdet’s arrest and deportation.
SPLM-IO Youth League leader Puot Kang wrote, “The illegal kidnapping of James Gatdet will never and ever silence any SPLM-IO supporter instead it shall radicalize them”. He added Gatdet’s deportation “shall always define the relation between the two nations for the next century.”
Machar, reacting from South Africa, described Kenya as a guarantor to the peace agreement signed in August 2015 and “we do not expect that it would put in danger the life of an innocent person.”
James Dak, who studied in the United States of America returned to South Sudan after the 2005 peace agreement where he joined the office of Riek Machar as spokesperson of the Vice President of the semi-autonomous Southern Sudan.
After the eruption of South Sudanese crisis, he moved to Nairobi from where continued to exercise his duties as Machar spokesperson. After Machar return to Juba in April 2016 , he remained in Nairobi and didn’t return to Juba.
Kenya was seen as safe and secure country for opponents from different east African countries who reside there.
However, human rights activists and workers say Kenya has violated international law when it deported Dak who is a UN registered refugee.
By deporting Dak "Kenya has exposed him to a serious risk of persecution," said Gerry Simpson, senior refugee researcher at Human Rights Watch.
"Kenya is steadily shredding any of respect for its fundamental refugee protection obligations," Simpson further told The Associated Press..
South Sudan researcher at Amnesty International Elizabeth Deng pointed in a statement to The Associated Press. that "(Dak) is now at risk of arbitrary detention and torture" by the South Sudanese authorities