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Kenyan lawmakers considering sanctions on S. Sudan leaders

October 13, 2016 (JUBA) –Members of the Kenyan parliament are considering a motion to sanction politicians “perpetrating” the violence in war-torn South Sudan.

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South Sudan President Salva Kiir (C) adresses a press conference together with FVP Riek Machar (R) and SVP James Wani at the State House on July 8, 2016 (Reuters Photo)

The chairman of Kenya’s security committee in Parliament, Asman Kamama and his counterpart in the defence and foreign relations committee, Ndugu’u Githinji both told in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi that the motion would be considered next week.

“There are South Sudanese leaders who live and invest in Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Khartoum and yet they are perpetrators of war in Juba, that is why we want to bring a motion to impose sanction on such people to ensure their assets are frozen,” said Githinji.

The world youngest nation descended into a conflict between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar in 2013. A peace agreement signed in August 2015 is at a verge of collapse after fighting resumed in July, forcing Machar to flee Juba, months after formation of a transitional national unity ggovernment .

Machar was replaced by Taban Deng Gai, the opposition’s ex-chief negotiator, in July.

The Machar-led faction met in Khartoum and resolved to implement the peace accord using all means, including by armed resistance, raising fears of a renewed civil war.

Kenya, which played a key role in negotiating the peace agreement and a guarantor to the shaky implementation of the peace accord, says a return to war should be avoided.

“The African Union, East Africa Community and the United Nations must say enough is enough and put an end to this war in South Sudan,” Kamama told Kenya’s Citizen TV.

Kamama said South Sudanese politicians should not be allowed to fan war in the region.

“We cannot allow people to stage wars from the peace and comfort of hotels in Nairobi. The proposed sanctions will target property owned by the perpetrators including barring their children from attending costly schools in the country,” he said.

South Sudanese politicians have assets in neighboring countries where their family members continue to lead lavish lives despite the economic crisis sparked by the two years conflict. At least one million South Sudanese have been displaced as refugees to neighboring countries and millions others are facing acute food shortage in the country

Kenyan MP Gethenji said Presient Salva and SPLM in Opposition leader Machar must restrained from continuing the path of violence.

“We warn Mr Machar and his top generals that they will face tough sanctions when the two committees table a motion in Parliament and we urge him to pursue diplomatic channels,” said Gethenji.

It is not clear how the move by Kenyan parliamentaries will help ease fighting in South Sudan. The international community, led by the United States, have urged South Sudan neighbours to act on the intransigent rival political leaders by targeting their assets.

Both President Kiir and Machar were named by the United States-based advocacy group, the Sentry, to have mansions in Nairobi.

(ST)