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South Sudanese in Kenya complain of stalled official embassy building

South Sudanese citizens in Kenya have raised alarm over the delayed completion of their embassy, which the government had promised to complete in 16 months.

The groundbreaking ceremony that marked the start of construction of the new chancery in Kenya took place in November 2019 along James Gichuru Road on land that was purchased by the government of South Sudan.

The ongoing construction of the South Sudanese embassy
The ongoing construction of the South Sudanese embassy along James Gichuru Road. Photo| Kevin Cheruiyot

Five years later, the embassy is still housed in a rented apartment in the Kilimani area, prompting South Sudanese citizens to protest on social media.

According to the citizens, the embassy in Kilimani has been facing several challenges including rent arrears and disruptions since the building in Kilimani houses other businesses, including a parlour.

“This is really embarrassing. We should have built our own embassy by now, especially in nearby countries. The ambassadors there are not serious,” one complainant said.

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“The government needs serious interventions to save the image of the country. Government advisors need to work hard closely with decision-makers and the president to fill loopholes.”

Another South Sudanese citizen said that President Salva Kiir Mayardit enjoys the good ties that exist between Kenya and South Sudan, which has seen him hosting guests, visitors, dignitaries and his counterparts and heads of state in hotels.

They said that it is contrary to what is happening in other countries, where the presidents arrange such meetings in their ambassadorial residences and not hotels.

“This will be another egregious failure of our government not to have its own building to accommodate embassies and diplomats,” adding, “It has also emerged that South Sudan President Kiir has been hosting delegates and having meetings in restaurants whenever he makes his visits to Kenya.”

The citizens say that this is not only sabotage to them wherever they seek services in the embassy but is also a big embarrassment to President Kiir, who is the current Chairperson of the East Africa Community (EAC).

The issue has severally been raised by the South Sudan Ministry of Foreign Affairs with little action from President Kiir.

As the citizens continue to suffer in accessing services, they now want the president to take action and ensure that the official Embassy building is completed.

Nairobi News confirmed that indeed the construction of the official residence of the embassy is ongoing.