Troops will exit, Kenya’s dig­nity won’t be sac­ri­ficed, says Uhuru

Says it’s wrong for UN sec­re­tary gen­eral Ban Ki-moon to blame and sack the Kenyan com­man­der be­cause peace­keep­ers are ac­cused of fail­ing to pro­tect nearby civil­ians

The Star (Kenya) - - Politics Presidency - STEVE WAMBUGU @wambuguk­ing

Pres­i­dent Uhuru Kenyatta yes­ter­day de­fended Kenya’s de­ci­sion to im­me­di­ately with­draw its 1,165 troops from South Su­dan.

With­drawal of troops and back­ing out of the peace process is in re­ac­tion to the UN de­ci­sion to sack the Kenyan force com­man­der Lt Gen John­son Ondieki.

UN forces were ac­cused of not res­cu­ing civil­ians who were at­tacked by sol­diers in July in Juba. A South Su­danese jour­nal­ist was killed and aid wor­ers were raped. UN forces were just one kilo­me­tre away. The UN called “risk averse”.

Uhuru was speaking at the Kenya Mil­i­tary Academy in Lanet, Nakuru town, dur­ing an of­fi­cer cadet com­mis­sion­ing pa­rade.

He said the peo­ple of South Su­dan want peace, but it can­not be achieved by plac­ing the blame on an in­di­vid­ual Kenyan com­man­der.

UN sec­re­tary gen­eral Ban Ki-moon dis­missed Ondieki two days ago af­ter an official in­ves­ti­ga­tion and re­port in­dicted the UN fail­ure to help de­spite pleas for help. The dec­o­rated sol­dier had only served in South Su­dan for six months.

The Pres­i­dent said he will not al­low a peace mis­sion to place the blame of a sys­tem­atic fail­ure on a Kenyan com­man­der.

Uhuru said Kenya will not con­trib­ute forces to peace mis­sions “meant to fail”. “Kenya will no longer take part in a peace­keep­ing mis­sion in South Su- dan. That is the gov­ern­ment po­si­tion,” he said.

The Pres­i­dent said Kenya serves in var­i­ous peace mis­sions not be­cause it must, but in ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the need to have peace glob­ally.

He said peace should not come at the ex­pense of the na­tion’s dig­nity. “We will not al­low our­selves to be taken for granted in peace­keep­ing pro­cesses,” Uhuru said.

The July fight­ing in­volved the army and for­mer rebels. The clashes de­railed ef­forts to form a unity gov­ern­ment and end the civil war, which again broke out in Septem­ber 2013.

Uhuru said ter­ror­ists cru­elly jeop­ar­dise se­cu­rity na­tion­ally and glob­ally but the and the war will be won by all means. He said the knowl­edge the cadets have ac­quired will go along way in sup­port­ing the war on ter­ror­ism.

/BEN NDONGA

Pres­i­dent Uhuru Kenyatta in­spects a guard of honour dur­ing the grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony of cadets at Lanet in Nakuru yes­ter­day

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