Kenya has assured South Sudan that it will not abandon its obligation to restore peace even after pulling troops out of the troubled county following a row with the United Nations.
State House Spokesman Manoah Esipisu on Sunday said that although Kenya would no longer work as part of the UN mission in Juba (UNMISS), Nairobi would continue with its peace efforts on other fronts.
Kenya pulled its troops out of South Sudan last week following the sacking of Lt-Gen Johnson Mogoa Kimani Ondieki by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.
Nairobi furiously protested the sacking, pulled out its troops from South Sudan, deported one of the aides of rebel leader Riek Machar and warned the UN not to take her for granted.
“Kenya will keep its obligation to South Sudan. We will work with them bilaterally, in Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the Eat African Community, which we worked hard to get them there, and the African Union. What we will not do is work with them on UNMISS,” said Mr Esipisu at State House during his weekly press briefings.
Mr Esipisu also dismissed as “bad ignorance” opposition by Cord leader Raila Odinga of Kenya’s move to pull its troops out of the country.
Mr Odinga said that the action had dented Kenya’s image in international circles.
“If someone is going to take a decision against a Kenyan commander without involving Kenya, that person must know that there will be consequences,” Mr Esipisu said.
“And if there were no consequences, people will ask where the Republic of Kenya is.”
On Mr Odinga, Mr Esipisu said: “I think those of us who do not understand basic diplomacy, in my view, have a problem.”
Mr Esipisu said Kenya’s international standing had grown huge, saying “all key world leaders have come to Kenya, maybe except the Russian president.”
He said that Kenya was respected in the international circles like never before.
Meanwhile, Mr Esipisu said Kenya was on its way to achieve the projected six per cent growth.
The bullish State House spokesman said the country had its house in order, and that it was doing better than its continental peers South Africa (with a projected 0.5 percent economic growth), and Nigeria that is projected to decline by the same percentage.
Mr Esipisu also dismissed as premature questions of why Kenyans were not seeing jobs as the economy grew.
“Growth takes time and it is not like a football match where it is 90 minutes and there is a goal. But there are things we can see. Like SGR, the rail is being laid and there are 30,000 jobs besides the subcontracted ones,’ explained Mr Esipisu.
Mr Esipisu also announced that State House will on Monday host a lands summit.
At the summit, he said, Kenyans will get answers on historical land injustices (who owns the largest tracts of land, land reports and their implementation), land grabbing, corruption in the sector, as well as malpractices in land control boards.