Claims by opposition that pulling South Sudan troops was illegal dismissed
State House has dismissed claims by opposition leader Raila Odinga that the decision by President Uhuru Kenyatta to withdraw KDF from South Sudan was unconstitutional.
“It is clear that Raila has consistently misunderstood Kenya’s military, which has remained apolitical since independence,” State House said in a statement.
Spokesman Manoah Esipisu said the decision by Uhuru to recall the troops was constitutional.
He said this included obtaining authorisation from the National Security Council. “Needless to say, Raila is not a member of the NSC,” Esipisu said. He went on, “Our soldiers do not put their lives on the line because of allowances and stipends. They are in peacekeeping for the peace and security of Kenya.”
Esipisu said the military comprises committed professionals and great officers who have invested their careers in developing a respectable capacity to perform their duties. “We sacrifice immensely every time soldiers are deployed to peacekeeping missions,” he said.
He added that to trivialise peacekeeping and the enormous sacrifices soldiers make is an insult to their profession.
“The attempt to bring into question the profes- sionalism of Lieutenant-General Johnson Ondieki by extension is an effort to delegitimise the long-standing conduct of our military,” Esipisu said.
On November 1, UN chief Ban Ki-moon sacked Ondieki as head of UN peacekeeping force in South Sudan. While the reason’s for Ondieki’s sacking are yet to be disclosed, a document signed by Ban shows he was unhappy with how the UN missions in South Sudan handled the violence in Juba. Ondieki was appointed six months ago to head the peacekeeping force. A UN report indicates that UNMISS did not adequately respond to violence “due to an overall lack of leadership”.