Riek Machar's imminent return to South Sudan to take up duties as Vice President marks another milestone in Africa's youngest nation. It is hoped that his return will mark the end of an ignominious period of bloodletting and destruction. Violence broke out in South Sudan in December 2013 months after President Salva Kiir sacked Dr Machar. There were claims of an aborted coup.
For a country that held so much promise after it broke away from The Sudan in 2011, the brutal death of nearly 10,000 people and the displacement of millions should offer a compelling reason for the leaders to end hostilities. Kenya has played a lead role in peace initiatives. That should not stop.
South Sudan's hope for peace is not lost. Only days ago, the country was admitted to the East African Community (EAC) where Kenya is a founder member. The role that the regional body will play to force the hand of warring factions and secure the peace cannot be underestimated. The stability of the mineral and oil- rich country is critical for regional progress in trade and economic development.
Ultimately, it is up to the people of South Sudan to decide the direction their country takes. But the rest of the region, least of all Kenya, cannot wait and see.