Two months ago, while what started as a series of demonstrations in several Sudanese cities due to spiraling costs of living and deterioration of economic conditions quickly ossified into a revolution- Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta vowed to stand firm with the hitherto disgraced strongman- Omar al- Bashir.
Around that time two months ago- in February to be precise, al-Bashir declared a state of emergency and dissolved the national and regional governments, replacing the latter with military and intelligence-service officers. On 8 March, al-Bashir announced that all of the women jailed for protesting against the government would be released.
On the weekend of 6–7 April, there were massive protests for the first time since the declaration of the state of emergency.On 10 April, soldiers were seen shielding protesters from security forces and on 11 April, the military removed al-Bashir from power in a coup d’etat.
Fallen Sudan dictator Omar Al-Bashir was welcome to Kenya even as other nations shunned him following his war crimes indictment.
On February 6, as protests raged across Sudan, President Uhuru Kenyatta assured Bashir of Kenya’s support as calls mounted for him to quit. With his 30-year-old grip on power severed- at-least partially- Kenya is the country that Bashir now under house arrest is most welcomed to.
“Kenya will continue to support Sudan as it manages its internal affairs because the sovereignty of all Igad (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) member states is something of great importance to us. As a member of Igad, Sudan is a pillar of stability in the region,” President Kenyatta said.The President spoke as he received a special message from the 75-year-old leader, which was delivered by Vice-President Osman Mohammed Yousif at State House, Nairobi.
On April 11 last year, Deputy President William Ruto met Al-Bashir in Khartoum where they held bilateral talks that focused on trade.“I take this opportunity to ask Kenya to consider purchasing uniforms, including those of the military, from our country as we commit ourselves to increasing purchase of tea from your country,” Bashir was quoted telling Ruto.
Under Uhuru’s regime, a US report revealed in 2016 that South Sudan President Salva Kiir and former Vice-President Riek Machar, fierce rivals in a civil war that has claimed tens of thousands of lives, maintain family homes a short distance from one another in a wealthy Nairobi neighbourhood.
In addition, large sums of money was reportedly moved through accounts in Kenyan banks held by major figures in South Sudan’s calamitous conflict, says the report by The Sentry, a watchdog group co-founded by Hollywood actor George Clooney.
A compound occupied by members of President Kiir’s family sits inside a gated community in Lavington, “one of Nairobi’s most upscale neighbourhoods,” states the 65-page report entitled “War Crimes Shouldn’t Pay.”
The extensive property was found to include a two-storey, pale yellow villa that is more than 5,000 square feet in size.
Dr Machar, the leader of South Sudan’s armed opposition, also has family members living in a luxury home in Lavington, says the report.
This property includes “a large backyard with a large stone patio and a teardrop-shaped, in-ground swimming pool,” reveals The Sentry.The Machar property “is located a short drive from the Kiir home,” notes the report.
Four of President Kiir’s grandchildren attend a private school in a Nairobi suburb that costs about $10,000 (Sh1 million) a year, The Sentry adds, citing a “knowledgeable” anonymous source. “President Kiir officially earns about $60,000 per year,” The Sentry points out.
Posts on social media show Kiir family members “riding jet skis, driving in luxury vehicles, partying on boats, clubbing and drinking in the Villa Rosa Kempinski — one of Nairobi’s fanciest and most expensive hotels — all during South Sudan’s current civil war,” says the report.
Not left behind is the family of General Paul Malong Awan, chief of staff of South Sudan’s army, described in the report as “the architect of immense human suffering” in the course of the conflict. His family owns a villa in an upscale community within Nyari Estate in Nairobi.
When the said Malong fell sick, Uhuru rushed to his hospital bed.
“The home includes marble floors throughout, a grand staircase, numerous balconies, a guest house, an expansive driveway and a large, in-ground pool,” states the report.