Kenya has been like a big brother
By John Oywa
Credited for brokering the delicate but historic Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the 21-year old war against the North in 2005, Kenya has opened its purse strings to help end the infrastructural crisis caused by protracted war in the neighbouring country.
Besides hosting thousands of Southern Sudan refugees, Kenya has been like a caring brother to the semi-autonomous country, which has been wracked by conflicts.
Documents seen by The Standard on Sunday show that Kenya has spent $3.5 million in training Southern Sudanese government officials, besides a massive humanitarian assistance to refugees. A street in Juba. [PHOTOS: MBUGUA KIBERA/ STANDARD]
A street in Juba. [PHOTOS: MBUGUA KIBERA/ STANDARD]
The Government has opened a branch of the Kenyan Institute of Administration (KIA) in Juba to co-ordinate training for middle and lower cadre public service following a technical co-operation Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2007. So far, 965 Southern Sudanese government officials among them security officers and journalists have been trained in Juba and Nairobi.
Kenya has also posted three public sector reform experts to Juba to oversee the Public Service Reform implementation framework.
A senior Government official who cannot be quoted because he is not authorised to speak to the media said the Government last year added another $2 million to the technical assistance kitty and extended the co-operation time-span to 2011.
The coalition government has also stepped in to help the Southern Sudan government in drafting its laws.
The Government of Southern Sudan’s Ministry of Legal and Constitutional Affairs whose responsibility includes making the country’s laws have been unable to draft vital bills due to lack of legal experts.
"There have been no adequate qualified legal drafters for the government which resulted in heavy backlog," said a report.
Last year, a team of Kenyan legal experts, led by former Cabinet minister Ochilo Ayacko camped in Juba to help draft laws for the Southern Sudan government.
Among senior Kenyan experts working for the country is former Rangwe MP Shem Ochuodho who is an advisor to the Ministry of Telecom & Postal Services in Juba. The Kenyan consular general in Southern Sudan Joseph Kiplagat confirmed that the Coalition Government was undertaking an enormous capacity building programme for Southern Sudan.
"A Kenyan Southern Sudan Liaison office has been set up in Kenya and a co-ordinator had been posted to Juba for programme activities," said Dr Kiplagat.
He said the Kenyan experts were helping Southern Sudan in harmonising civil service salaries, and data management. They are also training the police and prisons officers on public safety.
"Journalists and presenters working for the Southern Sudan State TV have been trained at the Kenya Institute of Mass communication and they are doing well," said Kiplagat.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of State for Public Service Titus Ndambuki says Kenya has also been training Sudanese Air Traffic Controllers, teachers and public health personnel. By August 2007, when Mr Ndambuki compiled a report on the technical assistance, 112 Sudan people’s Liberation Army soldiers had been trained on de-mining techniques at the International Mine Action School in Embakasi.
Kenya has also assigned one berth at the Mombasa port to the Southern Sudan government for cargo destined to the country.
Kiplagat said Kenya views Southern Sudan as a strategic trade partner and the support was justified.
"South Sudan is Kenya’s emerging market and a potential member of the expanded regional community," said Kiplagat.
The biggest beneficiaries
Economists say Kenya and Uganda could be the biggest beneficiaries if Southern Sudan votes to separate from the North in the January 2011 referendum because it will provide a massive market for agricultural produce and the service industry.
Kenya’s support to the planned construction of a 1,400km oil pipeline from Lamu to Juba is seen as an economic strategy.
Already, a Japanese firm – Toyota Trusho, the trading arm of the Japanese carmaker, has said it was developing plan to build the $1.5 billion pipeline.
Last week, South Sudan President Salva Kiir said his country relies on Kenya as a trusted brother who has offered support at times of need.
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