Don’t withdraw troops from S Sudan, Abe urges Uhuru
Says he has sent a special adviser to UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon to personally request him to reverse the sacking of Kenyan commander Lt Gen Johnson Ondiek
Japan has raised concern over Kenya’s decision to withdraw its troops from South Sudan. President Uhuru Kenyatta made the announcement last week.
The decision followed the unilateral sacking of Lt Gen Johnson Ondieki as the head of the United Nations Mission.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday said he sent a special adviser to UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon to personally request him to reverse the decision.
He urged Uhuru to reconsider Kenya’s decision on the withdrawal of troops and instead engage the UN on how to reinstate Ondieki.
Kenya’s presence and participation in the Unmiss is critical to the longterm peace process in the region, Abe said.
He spoke when he held bilateral talks with a Kenyan delegation in Japan, led by National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi.
Muturi was accompanied by majority leader Aden Duale, Defence and Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ndung’u Gethenji and MPs Cecily Mbarire (Runyenjes) and Rachel Ameso (Kakamega).
The Speaker said sacking Ondieki without due process was a violation of international norms and practices. He urged Ban to ensure the UN follows the norms that it preaches.
Muturi said he would pass Abe’s request to Uhuru to engage the UN body and relook into the decision to sack Ondieki, and returning Kenyan troops to the troubled nation.
Japan sits in the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member. It is not clear whether Ban communicated to the UNSC before sacking Ondieki.
Last week, Uhuru said Kenya’s decision to withdraw from the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan was a protest against the violation of the dignity of Kenya’s soldiers.
He said the UN acted in an undignified manner when it replaced the Kenyan officer heading the Unmiss.
“Our soldiers have served in many countries and with distinction,” Uhuru said, citing how Kenyan soldiers performed in Namibia, East Timor, Yugoslavia and other missions.
“We took the decision to withdraw from the mission to protect the dignity and pride of our men and women in uniform. We feel strongly the UN decision was unfair,” he said.
Uhuru, however, made it clear that Kenya will “forever stand by South Sudan as it has done over the years”.
National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi with Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe at the Akasaka Palace, Tokyo