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