Image via WikipediaA well-organized ceremony with heightened security convened in Nairobi’s Uhuru Park for the promulgation of Kenya’s new constitution, left many surprised at the arrival of the President of Sudan, Hassan el-Bashir. According to Kenya’s media sources, the nation’s airspace remained closed to air traffic for four hours. Instead of arriving at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport where all heads of states frequent, el-Bashir’s presidential jet landed at Wilson Airport which is usually reserved for smaller aircraft.
Members of Kenya Parliament, cabinet ministers, and the public felt offended by the presence of el-Bashir-a man who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes of genocide in his country. Even the President of the United States, Barack Obama, commented on the issue of el-Bashir in Kenya. Kenya is a signatory to ICC and many wonder why el-Bashir was invited in the first place.
Flanked by Najib Balala, Kenya’s minister for tourism, el-Bashir took part in the promulgation of Kenya’s new constitution without any problems. Ironically, even Raila Odinga, Kenya’s Prime Minister was not notified of el-Bashir’s coming to Kenya. From this incident, we learn that Kenya is not a country whose affairs can be dictated by outside forces and that it will apply all the necessary means to safeguard its sovereignty and neighborliness.
Sudan is a neighbor of Kenya and Kenya has played a big role in the implementation of peace in Sudan in the past. Kenya’s current special envoy to Sudan is Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi-a man who has been in the forefront of restoring peace in many parts of Africa including neighboring Somalia, Rwanda, and Burundi. Arap Moi preceded Mwai Kibaki as president of Kenya. He is regarded in Kenya as a statesman and peacemaker.