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

The Star (Kenya) - - Politics - OLIVER MATHENGE @Oliv­erMa­thenge

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.

PRO­TECT­ING DIG­NITY

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”.

/COUR­TESY

Na­tional Assem­bly Speaker Justin Mu­turi with Ja­panese Premier Shinzo Abe at the Akasaka Palace, Tokyo

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