President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on South Sudan President Salva Kiir and his former Vice President Riek Machar to learn statesmanship from Opposition leader Raila Odinga who put aside his political differences with him (Uhuru) for the benefit and development of the country.
Speaking in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during a meeting of the IGAD leaders, Uhuru asked the leaders to build on the current momentum of peace talks by mobilising their citizens to support the implementation of the peace agreement.
Additionally, the President noted: “Of great importance is to ensure that the governance issue is not left as a preserve of the political elite. It must be inclusive and be owned by the citizenry.
“My earnest call to the people of South Sudan is to truly own the peace process and genuinely work towards narrowing down the differences,” the Head of State noted.
Reiterating Uhuru’s sentiments, IGAD Executive Secretary Amb (Eng) Mahboub Maalim pointed out that Uhuru and ODM leader Raila Odinga were recognised globally for deciding to work together.
“The handshake made in Kenya has been infectious globally- North Korea and the United States and closer home – South Sudan,” Eng Maalim mentioned.
Furthermore, Uhuru urged all political actors and stakeholders in South Sudan to desist from issuing inflammatory statements or engaging in actions that could incite violence.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who is also the chairperson of IGAD, affirmed that time has come to act tough on those fuelling hostilities.
“Those perpetuating hostilities must be told that what they are doing is wrong. The crisis in South Sudan is affecting all regional states and that’s why it has to come to an end,” Ahmed commented.
Regional leaders are in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to help restore peace in South Sudan where civil war broke out in 2013.
The two met for the first time in two years since they fell out shook hands on Thursday as a sign to the cessation of hostilities at the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) peace talks.
Also present were Presidents Ismail Omar Guelleh (Djibouti) and Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (Somalia).