Kenya veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga says if elected, he will spearhead the release of South Sudan exiled rebel leader Riek Machar to participate in fresh peace renegotiation to end the four-civil war.
Odinga told Reuters news agency in an interview that he will substantially reshape Kenya’s policy towards its neighbors if he wins the re-run called by the supreme court last week after nullification of the August 8 poll .
Kenya’s top court declared incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta’s 1.4 million votes win null and void due to flaws in the tallying process.
Marchar is currently held under house arrest in South Africa under the stewardship of regional leaders who believe his presence in South Sudan would escalate the conflict.
Odinga’s remarks comes on the backdrop of a United Nations report accusing East Africa regional leaders of lack of coherency in forging peace negotiations and competing interest.
Armed conflict started in South Sudan in 2013 with the collapse of the country’s coalition of ethnic and political elites pitting President Kiir and his followers against his deputy Machar. The nation was consumed in 20 months of a brutal civil war.
IGAD peace efforts hosted in Addis Ababa immediately focused on resolving the conflict by piecing the
unity coalition back together around a donor-driven state-building plan, culminating in the August 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS).
Under the terms of this agreement former vice president and rebel leader Riek Machar flew to Juba in April
2016 with a sizeable protection force to reclaim the vice presidency. South Sudan’s ‘unity’ government was short-lived when fighting broke out between forces loyal to both men in July 2016.