The malicious sacking of Lt-Gen Johnson Mogoa Kimani Ondieki by the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on alleged inability to prevent attacks on civilians is likely to spark a diplomatic row between Kenya and the United Nations. this may undermine the progress achieved by the Kenyan government in promoting peace not only in the volatile South Sudan but also in Somali where the Kenya Defence Forces is battling Al-Shabaab militants.
The spiraling conflict in South Sudan is deeper than what world leaders may presume because it dates back to the early 90s when a splinter group a rose from SPLM led by the former vice president Riek Machar. These warring groups are acutely divided along tribal lines and have harbored eternal differences against each other occasionally resulted in fierce attacks and reckless killings of civilians for decades. It is thus disheartening for the UN chief to base his sacking on a mere report that failed to explain the genesis of power struggles and political wrangles in South Sudan.
Speaking during the cadets’ commissioning parade at Kenya Military Academy in Lanet President Uhuru Kenyatta slammed the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon for sacking Kenya’s commander and vowed to pull out Kenyan forces from South Sudan. The withdrawal of the Kenyan forces will likely jeopardize the ultimate peace promotion in the region.
The move to sack and replace the Kenyan General is not only demeaning to the Kenyan defence force but the entire African Union force whose mandate is not to engage in active combat with rebels or faction allied to various leaders but protect civilians. According to the Kenyan authorities, the rhetoric that the Lt. Mogoa failed to offer leadership which in turn resulted to deaths of civilians is baseless.
The international community and Ban Ki-Moon in specific should not quickly forget the audacious role the Kenyan government and its meticulous men in uniform have played in the promoting peace in the young republic of South Sudan; a nation whose creation resulted from intense negotiations led by General Lazarus Sumbeiywo who is proudly Kenyan.
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