Kenya National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale is expected to introduce a Special Motion seeking Parliament’s approval to deploy Kenya Defence Forces soldiers to South Sudan.
The motion cites provisions of Article 240(8)(a) of the Constitution and Section 18 of the Kenya Defence Forces Act, 2012 which allows the House to assent to the deployment of the Kenya Defence Forces for the purpose of regional peace support operations under the United Nations Mission in South Sudan following an urgent requirement for troops.
The United Nations Security Council authorized the deployment of a 4,000-strong protection force in South Sudan’s capital, as part of the UN Peacekeeping Mission and threatened an arms embargo if the Juba government does not cooperate.
Today’s decision will follow a meeting between President Uhuru Kenyatta and US Secretary of State John Kerry on the security situation in South Sudan.
Addressing a presser in Nairobi, Kerry said it was important that South Sudan allows in the 4,000 troops under the Protection Force Brigade.
“There is absolutely no question, and we did agree here with all the ministers that we need to move forward with the deployment of the UN protection force authorised by the UN Security Council in order to be part of the UN peacekeeping mission in that country.
“The leaders of South Sudan have to live up to their responsibilities. Time has come to replace confrontations with reconciliation,” he said.
Fierce fighting erupted in Africa’s youngest nation after soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir and ousted VP Riek Machar fought each other in July leading to more than 100,000 people fleeing across the border.
The South Sudan rebel leader is reported to have fled to the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.
However Opposition coalition CORD cautioned the government against acting in haste to deploy its soldiers.
The opposition MPs said Kenya should compel the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to impose sanctions on South Sudanese officials perpetrating the war.
The Opposition wants the public to be informed how long KDF troops are likely to spend in South Sudan and also for the nation to be told the specific mandate of the deployment.
The MPs say they want to avoid a situation where Kenyan troops are in South Sudan for an indefinite period.
CORD Principles Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetangula earlier this year threatened to call for a referendum to among other things pressure the government to withdraw Kenyan soldiers deployed in 2010 to pursue Al Shabaab in Somalia.
They instead argued that the troops should be deployed along the Somalia-Kenya Border to bolster security and deter cases of Al Shabaab militants taking advantage of the porous border to crossover to carry out terror attacks.