Ethiopia and Kenya: Are they dens of rebels or mediation places?

Quote “It is bad that a rebel leader in the person of Riek Machar should be given red carpet reception in Nairobi as that might portray Kenya as a partial peace arbiter” say 5 CORD Kenyan MPs, Hon. Stephen Mule, Hon. Ken Okoth, Hon. Abdullahi Diriye , Hon. Agustino Neto and Sen. Daisy Kanaiza.

By: Simon Yel Yel and Bol Madut Ayii, APR/02/2015, SSN;

When one talks of history of south Sudan and all liberation movements, be it SANU, SSLM/Anya Anya, SPLM/A, against the Khartoum regime, one can’t escape to mention the name of Ethiopia and Kenya and acknowledge the pivotal roles they had played supporting the liberation movements, politically, diplomatically and economically.

These two countries were and still friendly to south Sudan since the liberation movements started in 1947. Their support will never be forgotten at all. They hosted and supported war refugees in Kakuma and Gambela. They were very welcoming and friendly to south Sudanese who were in Kakuma and Gambela refugee camps and also in big cities.

The two governments didn’t see south Sudanese with disdain and xenophobia during liberation struggle but they see them like their citizens. Some of south Sudanese who were able to be in boarding schools with Kenyans and Ethiopians were very well treated like citizens with no discrimination at all.

The relationship of security organs with south Sudanese at large in Kenya and Ethiopia was not piercing. Some south Sudanese young men got private scholarships from good-hearted Kenyans and Ethiopians. The big percentage of educated youth now in south Sudan had acquired their education in Kenya and Ethiopia. But the strange thing now is in making.

Since the foiled coup attempt on 15th Dec. 2013, the stand of Kenya and Ethiopia remain questionable on this crisis. It was June last year when Riek Machar started what he called ”diplomatic tour to neighbouring and friendly countries.”

He went to Djibouti, Sudan and Kenya plus other countries. President Kenyatta was the only president who received him in “RED CARPET” among all the countries he toured. Kenyatta broke the record as the first democratically elected president to show his support of rebel leader to the world by welcoming him with RED CARPET. Something which has never happened in world history.

Presidents Arap Moi, Mwai Kibaki and even his own father Jomo Kenyatta have never done that before to any rebel leader that they supported be, William Deng of Anya nya one or Dr. John Garang of the SPLM.

President Kenyatta have gone far beyond the US which is known of regime changes by supporting the rebels but have never welcome any rebel leader with RED CARPET in white house. US supported the Libyan and Syrian rebels but they have never shown their support in that form at all.

We can vividly remember Nov 2012 when President Kenyatta came to south Sudan with his team to engage president Kiir to help Kenyatta ascending the presidency. President Kiir promised him to help and work with him if he is elected by Kenyans and denounced the ICC as never been fair with Africans. President Kiir even went to witnessed his swearing in ceremony and that shows he (Kiir) is committed to working with Kenyatta.

Kenya is investing in south Sudan more than any other country in Africa, Kenyans have banks and hotels plus others. Many people were shocked in Oct last year to hear that Kenyan government was considering sanctions against the government of south Sudan.

Hon. Michael Makuei and Hon. James Kok went and conducted press conference in Nairobi explaining the genesis of the crisis to the Kenyan government officials and warned them there would be consequences if Kenya would sanction south Sudan.

We couldn’t believe Kenya planning to do that. Every country can be Jekyll and Hyde but no one expect Uhuru’s regime to show us such ugly and brutal face to south Sudan when we opened up everything for them. Every month Kenyans who are making business in any part of south Sudan do send billions of shillings back home to boost their economy. What other good thing do Kenyan government want south Sudan to do for them? Everyone astonishes, why did Kenya become a rebels’ den?

Any person who wants to join rebel Riek Machar always makes announcement in Kenya and then proceed to Ethiopia first and then comes back and stays in hotel being paid for by the Kenyan government. ”We will mention few people, like Dau Aturjong and Edward Lino who are suffering from male menopause and megalomania.”

Kenya has become permanent home for the G11, no more going ahead nor returning back. They are being well provided for by the Kenyan government. Eating free lunch, breakfast, dinner and sleeping freely in very expensive Windsor hotel.

Thanks to opposition MPs who felt that the Kenyan government is doing what it shouldn’t and decided to table motion to the parliament requesting the government to expel G11 and we quote, ”The said leaders were to help in the peace process and the negotiations taking place in Ethiopia, and not live in opulence at the expense of the Kenyan taxpayers.”

But for whoever in the government is fine with and what the government is doing. Though they didn’t win the motion, it still shows that there are some Kenyans who feel bad seeing their government playing cheat and hide politics in south Sudanese crisis.

Their (G11) work is just to demonise president Kiir and push for the IGAD peace mediators to consider the biased report of Obasanjo not to involve president Kiir and Riek in proposed transitional government of national unity. They considered themselves to be impeccant and true national leaders that can only bring unity to all south Sudanese and end tribalism and corruption if they are allowed to lead the transitional government.

The Kenyan government is hypocritical holier-than-thou to show it really stand on this crisis. It is in dilemma and could not be able to take one side to support, either G11 or Riek Machar.

Looking at the historical background of Kenya, it has been used to support any rebellion like that of Sudan when its (Kenya) opened her doors to accommodate SPLA generals, so it seems like becoming a mind set for Kenyan government that helping rebels is something good even if the rebels (SPLM in government) that they had supported to come into power still they engage helping another rebel to topple that government.

What do the Kenyan government expect the SPLM in the government to do? Can the SPLM government give them some ministerial positions or the share in oil? What else do every country that had supported the rebel movement to ascend to power expect than business cooperation in return?

Now in South Sudan the market is being control by Kenyans from commercial banks to hotels, therefore any proposal by Kenyan government to sanctions South Sudan means it sanctions itself.

Ethiopia and the current peace negotiations between two warring parties in South Sudan:

Ethiopia has never brought peace to south Sudan since the genesis of the civil war. Though literal meaning of it is new flower that smells so sweet and romantic, people still wonder why it always gives us the smell of the rotten egg when we need something fresh. We thought it would give us the pleasant and fresh smell of sweet oxygen of peace not carbon dioxide of war.

Since 1972, the peace brokered by Ethiopia has never been materialized though all means exhausted even to the extent of scarifying a bull still comes out with no sweet smell of flower. What flower will it really, could it be Rafflesia arnoldii?

The peace between the president Nimery and Anya Anya turn not peace to be respected as it was clearly demonstrated by the Sudanese then president Jafaar Nimery that it was not Quaran or Holy Bible which the peace means to be like.

Although the Addis Ababa peace accord was not implemented by the Sudanese government as it was agreed, the support by the Ethiopian government in initiation of peace should not go unrecognized, the then Ethiopian Emperor engaged the two warring parties in the Sudan to reach an agreement in Ethiopian capital Addis in 1972, this shows that the regime in Ethiopia has been playing and still playing vital role in searching for peaceful settlement of any dispute within any African conflict.

The one year peace mediation in Ethiopia under the auspices of Ambassador Seyoum Mesfin has been viewed by South Sudanese as well as the region at large that it will not bear fruits due to partiality of the mediators and impossible demands always put by the rebel.

To the surprise of many rightful thinking members of Society, the mediators proved to be biased beyond any reasonable doubt. Whenever the rebels violated the secession of hostilities, it has been always the government who is to be condemned by mediators and the international community but not the rebels.

The mediation in Ethiopia is being viewed by many people as a smart coup in making against the government because the mediators do propose always every items of rebel’s demands that are not even subject to any mediation at all if the mediators are really impartial.

Throughout the process of negotiations, the government has been always giving up everything by accepting the power sharing government with Riek,s rebels but still IGAD coaching the rebel mediators to ask for the position of executive prime minister which seems to be another way of implementing Riek’s failed coup attempt in negotiations table.

After the failure on the 5th March to reach an agreement, the IGAD mediators have come up with another way of compelling the government to accept unbecoming demands of the rebels by announcing that they will invite Troika, UNSC and AU to participate directly in the next round of talks in Addis.

This new move is not really to bring peace to South Sudan but to install Riek Machar to power by threatening the government with sanctions and military action should it fail to accept the rebel’s demands.

The recently adopted sanctions regime on South Sudan was proposed by troika and presented by US in the UNSC meeting. Since the above mentioned bodies had already taken their positions, will they be impartial in the next peace talks scheduled to take place in Addis?

In conclusion, since the negotiations in Addis seems not be bearing fruits due to partiality of the mediators and the involvement of the western powers through Ethiopian government, we recommend that the next round of peace talks should be relocated to other country within Africa, either Zimbabwe or Rwanda and to be headed by the new chief mediator.

For the Kenya, the Kenyan government has done many diplomatic fouls and it is high time for South Sudan government to revise diplomatic relationship with Kenya.

The writers are south Sudanese concerned citizen citizens.
Simon Yel Yel can be reached at or 095524635,
Bol Madut Ayii can be reached at or 0956252721


  1. Manyiel Atem says:

    Yel and Bol,
    Your article is good to read, but lack substance- filled informations. For those of us who have completed primary schools and went to secondary schools in Kenya, we know Kenya very well. Kenyans used to tell us, we are not here to make you fat, but to sustain your lives. And they were so right. Salva Kiir made a fool of himself by inviting Kenyans to invest in South Sudan.

  2. Alier Gai says:

    They are all of the above. South sudan is alread fall in the money’s trap of eastern african countries who do care less about anything but money. Whatever it takes to bring back peace to south sudan is a bad dream to them, because they are enjoying the world bank previlages they never had before and doing so with celerity is disfavoring their interests. The meditation to igad is a gift to them and the time to work for people’s peace is interminable. However, the meditating countries are divided on who is right and who is wrong. Ugand and rwanda are supporting elected government, and they go by the rule of democracy, power and the interest. Whereas Kenya and tanzania are favoring G11 or the persioners of failed coup to run the country. It is about interest and friendship. But riek is not taking it slightly, and it is better for him to reunite with kiir than them. That was the reason they were isolated during kiir-riek face-to-face talks. The rebels see them as deceptive as turabi. Sudan and Ethiopia are favoring rebels and expecting the rest to join them. Riek wants south and the north to be one country again. Bashir and african leaning-muslim leaders are conspiring for reunification, for we don’t rule ourselves. And it is part of the pending report on violent crimes to be released later. Some african nations are not clicking with the idea of igad being divided because of the complications involved. They need to see this war come to an end soon. But the Northern past dominion, their interest in wealth by controlling our resources is in loose. And the stakes are high than the peace itself.

  3. Defender says:

    Authors, The world know that the war that is being imposed by Kiir and his village people are non other than a quest to create hegemony. As such, there is nothing new in your analysis on the position of these countries. They are just following their self interest. They as well understand the dynamic of politics in South Sudan, which is going against the ideals that inspired the movements you have identified. Those movements, including the SPLM/A are or were driven by a quest to change the lives of people of South Sudan; however, the current Kiir Village Regime’s intention is to do away with these ideals.

    The coup narrative that has been paraded by Kiir and his followers have no resonance anywhere but within the group that still believe in Kiir’s regime. The world has dispelled that narrative that is why they are treating the government the way they are doing. The strategy of trying to create logic out of thin air is astounding to say the least.

    If your arguments were centered around facts then your argument will make sense. However, it failed in two instances: one, you are trying to be analytical, which requires objectivity. But that failed because your argument is using discredited facts. Second, you failed to understand that Ethiopia and Kenya are institutionalized states that look at much deeper causes of conflicts and then react to it politically. This is the reason why they chose to play their cards with a long term prospect, instead of short-sighted political gaming of coup narrative that was meant to circumvent a much needed transformation of the country from kelptocracy/Denkocracy to function state.

    This reality is now emerging as the regime in Juba is noticing that it has lost moral platitude within its own class and the world alike. The coming period is crucial not only for the state but regional politics of continuing to accommodate intransigence of Kiir and his village strategy.

  4. mankien says:

    yes Kenya is the well country is not like Uganda who support the Genocided gov;t so do want Kenya people to support Genocide because of money they get from south Sudan anybody can not support what did to the Nuer civilian in the wosle world believe me. this is humanity. Tribalism is the one that wrote this article in south sudan we will never move a head like others nation that are competing in the development but will remain behine others alway bse of this tribalism in our mine set.

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