Kenya’s Crackdown on the South Sudanese
Like the rest of the world, South Sudanese in Kenya were shocked when the Kenyan police started storming their residences, arresting and detaining many of them in police center in Nairobi, Nakuru, Lodwar, Eldoret, and Nyeri, among others. This came following a strongly worded statement by Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for the Interior, Fred Matiangi, concerning what he described as “illegal immigrants,” or foreigners working in Kenya without employment permits. In a government’s initiative that reflects a routine economic policy enforcement, Dr. Fred Matiangi announced plans to issue electronic work permits to foreigners working in the country. Secretary Matiangi also warned any Kenyans who employ undocumented foreigners. This position also reflects Kenya’s prior announcements that Kenya should not employ any foreign nationals in any occupations for which qualified Kenyans can be found.
Jok Madut Jok is cofounder of the Sudd Institute. Born and raised in Sudan, Jok studied in Egypt and the United States. He is trained in the anthropology of health and holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Jok recently joined the Government of South Sudan as undersecretary in the Ministry of Culture and Heritage. He was a J. Randolph Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace and a fellow at the Rift Valley Institute. He is a Professor in the Department of History at Loyola Marymount University in California, from which he is on an extended leave. He has also worked in aid and development, first as a humanitarian aid worker and has been a consultant for a number of aid agencies. He is the author of three books and numerous articles covering gender, sexuality and reproductive health, humanitarian aid, ethnography of political violence, gender-based violence, war and slavery, and the politics of identity in Sudan. His book Sudan: Race, Religion and Violence, was published in 2007. Jok is co-editor of The Sudan Handbook, 2010.
Augustino Ting Mayai is the Director of Research at the Sudd Institute and an Assistant Professor at the University of Juba’s School of Public Service. He holds a PhD in Sociology, with concentrations on demography and development from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He currently studies how state effectiveness affects child health outcomes in South Sudan and Ethiopia. Dr. Mayai has written extensively on South Sudan’s current affairs.