By AGGREY MUTAMBO, Daily Nation, MAY/05/2015, SSN.
**South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation at four, fell into chaos in December 2013 after rebels loyal to former vice president Machar engineered a failed coup against President Salva Kiir.
**On Monday, Mr Kerry was briefed on the progress of negotiations by his host, President Kenyatta.
**President Kenyatta has privately tried to end the conflict by making parties sign a deal for power sharing. In January, both signed on a document, which was later rejected by their supporters;
Nairobi: Visiting US Secretary of State on Monday criticised warring South Sudanese leaders, accusing them of lacking “leadership” to end the violence.
At a news conference in Nairobi, Mr Kerry, who held talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta, said both President Salva Kiir and his nemesis Riek Machar are to blame for refusing to make compromises.
“We all know of that country’s great promise. We saw at first hand the dedication and resilience of its people, but let me be clear: That promise is now at a great risk of being squandered,” he said.
“The country’s leaders failed to act on behalf of their people and their nation.
“This is not happening except for the absence of the leadership necessary to bring it to a close,” he added, describing the violence which has so far killed more than 50,000 people and displaced another two million.
South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation at four, fell into chaos in December 2013 after rebels loyal to former vice president Machar engineered a failed coup against President Salva Kiir.
Soon, the war spread around the country.
Since then, talks led by regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on development (Igad) and supported by the US, UK, Norway and the European Union have failed to reach an agreement.
On Monday evening, Mr Kerry announced an additional $5 million funding for “justice and reconciliation” programmes in South Sudan, which he argued would be used to improve the justice system and reprimand war merchants in Juba.
But an emotional Kerry, who has previously warned South Sudanese leaders of sanctions, said they had both abandoned their responsibilities.
“For more than a year, regional leaders, the US and others have been urging South Sudan leaders to live up to their commitment that can set their country up on the path of peace and prosperity.
“Unfortunately, South Sudan’s leaders, both those officially in government and those contesting those who are in office, have not yet chosen to make compromises needed for peace.
“And it’s that absence of compromise and absence of leadership that is leading to the challenge to the region.”
The parties have previously signed seven ceasefire agreements, but all of them were broken just days after the ink was put to paper in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
BRIEFED ON PROGRESS
On Monday, Mr Kerry was briefed on the progress of negotiations by his host, President Kenyatta.
“President Kenyatta also informed the Secretary on efforts by Igad leaders to end the conflict in South Sudan,” a statement from State House said.
“Secretary Kerry felt that there was need to find a lasting peace in South Sudan and urged President Kenyatta and regional leaders to increase efforts to bring the conflict to an end,” it added.
President Kenyatta has privately tried to end the conflict by making parties sign a deal for power sharing. In January, both signed on a document, which was later rejected by their supporters.
And when Igad presented a similar proposal in Addis at the end of January, the parties failed to agree.
Despite pressure from the international community, the two sides have yet to agree on a long-term solution.
“The choices south Sudan leaders will make, ultimately will determine whether the country continues the path of conflict or restores the hope which its citizens richly deserve.” END