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Senior Kenyan official decries prolonged war in S. Sudan

July 5, 2018 (NAIROBI) - South Sudan’s unending civil war that has left thousands of people dead and millions displaced has made Kenya feel frustrated, the cabinet secretary for foreign affairs said.

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Kenya’s foreign affairs cabinet secretary Monica Juma (Getty)

Speaking to reporters in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, Monica Juma accused South Sudanese leaders of failing to take the trajectory of development as expected after attaining independence in 2011.

“This was the newest country; it had a lot of expectations after struggling for a very long time. The war is devastating. The level of humanitarian crisis is serious,” Juma said Thursday.

However, while restating Kenya’s commitment to finding a lasting solution to the South Sudan crisis, Juma downplayed the involvement of former Prime Minister Raila Odinga in the country’s foreign policy.

“The stature of a former Prime Minister in any country is well guaranteed. Anywhere a former premier goes, certain courtesies are extended to them and so there’s nothing unusual,” stressed Juma.

She, however, added, “It would be the same thing with a former Vice President and that is what we shall do when former US [United States] President Barack Obama visits the country”.

The Kenyan official confirmed that Odinga on a number of occasions delivered messages on behalf of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta after visiting President Salva Kiir and former first vice president, Riek Machar as part of efforts to restore peace in the nation.

“It is true the former Prime Minister has delivered messages on behalf of the president, including at the funeral of Winnie Mandela,” said Juma.

Meanwhile, the foreign affairs cabinet secretary said the Kenyan government is considering all available options to end South Sudan’s war, including freezing assets of leaders violating ceasefire accords.

She, however, said Kenya would be careful to verify claims of ceasefire violations to ensure actions taken by the government are in conformity with the law.

“The matter of sanctions is governed by the rule of law. When there are claims of people who have violated cease fires, we’re insisting on verification and evidence so that we process these in a rule-based manner,” further explained Juma.

She said the seven-member Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) was monitoring the implementation of cease fire agreements in South Sudan to ensure compliance by parties.

Her comments come in light of increased pressure by the United States government which has called on the freezing of assets that are believed to be proceeds of war in the conflict-ridden nation.

Last month, the US Treasury’s under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, Sigal Mandelker warned countries in the region against allowing South Sudan officials invest money illegally obtained from the young’s nation’s treasury.

(ST)