Kenya’s President William Ruto is slowly emerging as a visionary leader in East Africa. Since assuming power, he has repeatedly proved his abilities, particularly in pursuing a strong foreign and regional policy. Ruto is actively working on his mission to build greater African unity, with Kenya as a major regional power. However, his vision of a self-confident Africa poses a threat to Western neo-colonial designs, and Kenya needs to exercise caution as it moves forward. Recent events suggest that some signs are not favourable for Kenya and its ambitions.
South Sudan and Kenya lock horns
South Sudan, which shares a border with Kenya, has recently accused Kenya of land grabbing. This accusation has set the stage for a potential boundary dispute that could negatively impact trade between the two nations. South Sudan has accused Kenya of “illegally” taking 42 points of its borderline at Nadapal, a settlement on a key crossing point and trade route between the two countries.
Additionally, South Sudan’s Deputy Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation minister, Deng Dau Deng, has accused both Kenya and Uganda of claiming parts of South Sudan’s border. However, Kenya has denied these claims, stating that it respects its neighbors’ boundaries.
As per a report, Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Alfred Mutua, has said that Juba has not officially raised the matter with Nairobi. Moreover, Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary, Dr.Korir Sing’Oei, said that the boundary delimitation is currently ongoing under the African Union. The issue has raised a significant diplomatic row between South Sudan and Kenya, which could have serious implications for the East African Community, EAC.
Threat to EAC
According to a report, South Sudan has reported Kenya and Uganda to the African Union over alleged border encroachment. The row, if escalates can unsettle the East Africa Community trading bloc and major progress that have been made could be lost. The EAC common market comprises Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, DR Congo, Tanzania and Uganda. It was set up in 2010 to enable the free movement of goods and people across borders.
In addition, South Sudan is one of Kenya’s main export markets, importing goods worth Ksh17.1 billion last year, according to official data, which shows that trade has tilted in favor of Nairobi.
Thus, the diplomatic row that has erupted between South Sudan and Kenya is extremely unfortunate. The East African Community is one of the most vibrant and best performing blocs in Africa, as well as one of the most advanced trading blocs on the continent. In a continent overdependent on foreign powers, the EAC is a ray of hope, and Kenya’s role in creating greater African unity for its own socio-economic progress is undeniable. The West has always taken advantage of Africa’s miseries to further its own geopolitical goals. Therefore, South Sudan and Kenya must ensure that its “border dispute” is not exploited by evil designs and squander all the progress the EAC has made in recent times.