11 June 2018

Kenya: Raila Odinga Upbeat On South Sudan's Peace Talks

Photo: Stefanie Glinski/Thomson Reuters Foundation
The Cathedral camp in Wau hosts over 10,000 IDPs

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has expressed his commitment to the realisation of peace in South Sudan, even as he indicated that there is no immediate meeting planned between the two warring factions in Africa's youngest nation.

Mr Odinga met South Sudan President Salva Kiir in Juba two weeks ago before heading to South Africa for a meeting with rebel leader Dr Riek Machar.

Mr Odinga, who is Kenya's special envoy in South Sudan peace mission, is still in South Africa.

"We wish to clarify that Mr Odinga's recent missions to South Sudan and South Africa, where he held talks with President Kiir and Dr Machar respectively, were aimed at understanding the current position of each of the two leaders on the various issues separating them," read a statement signed by the ODM leader's spokesman, Mr Dennis Onyango.


Mr Onyango noted that the two leaders' positions have implications on peace and stability in South Sudan, Kenya, and the entire East Africa region

He said Mr Odinga's mission was complementary to the talks that have been going on in the war-torn country.

The talks are aimed at bringing together the various parties to the conflict under the guidance of Intergovernmental Authority on Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

"Mr Odinga remains hopeful that these efforts will soon bear fruit," he added.

Dr Machar, former first vice president sought political asylum in South Africa after falling out with his boss, Kiir in 2013.

The violence has led to the killings of thousands of people in South Sudan with the most affected being the women, children and the elderly.


Efforts to have the two leaders unite and embrace dialogue have yielded to nothing as the international community and the African Union (AU) maintains a deafening silence.

An attempt to end the civil war was the signing of a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in Naivasha, which was mediated by Kenya and led by Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, then Foreign Affairs minister.

The agreement would provide for an interim government with Mr Kiir being appointed the first vice president to Sudan president Omar al Bashir.

The fruits of the CPA would be realized in 2011 when South Sudan formally broke away from Sudan through a referendum across the country and the East African states among them Kenya.


Mr Kiir became the president with Dr Riek as his deputy.

However, a reorganisation of South Sudan's ruling party- Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) pitying president Kiir against Dr Machar did not go well.

President Kiir accused Dr Machar of trying to dislodge him from the party leadership ahead of the country's first presidential election that was to be held in 2016.

The fighting would see the election postponed as President Kiir replaced Dr Machar as his vice president.

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