Four Kenyans who had been jailed for life in South Sudan have been freed after the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir held bilateral talks. The release of the four Kenyans is evidence that the diplomatic relations between the two East African countries have improved.
Mr Anthony Mwadime, Mr Ravi Ramesh, Mr Boniface Muriuki and Mr Anthony Keya were sentenced to life imprisonment over embezzlement of government funds along with 8 South Sudanese nationals. According to a lobby group and their families, the four were not given a fair judgement seeing as they were caught up in business rivalry of major companies.
While Kenya and South Sudan have enjoyed cordial relation seeing as the former was instrumental ensuring the latter’s independence from Sudan the jailing of the four citizens was putting a strain on the relationship.
Kenya is believed to have exerted pressure on South Sudan to warrant the release the citizens as it is in line with Kenya’s cardinal duty of ensuring its citizens are not jailed in other countries. Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Dr. Monica Juma is in South Sudan to receive them.
Following the release, Kenya and South Sudanese relations expected to improve with both countries promising to engage in a mutually beneficial relationship that does not undermine the other’s sovereignty or security of the citizens. In the past, South Sudan has heavily relied on Kenya mainly because it is home to thousands of refugees that fled the two-decade-long war in Sudan.