A report that appears to shed some light on the incarceration for life in South Sudan of four Kenyans over fraud charges is a welcome development in the saga.
It also presents a ray of hope for these and several other Kenyans languishing in jails in Juba. Of course, the South Sudanese authorities have every right to try anybody who commits a crime in their country.
Kenyans working or living there know that they are subject to the laws of that land and if they commit any crimes, they will face the full force of its laws.
What is disturbing, however, is an indication in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs report that the seemingly harsh sentences slapped on the Kenyans might have been meant to force Kenya’s hand to co-operate in tracing money suspected to have been stolen.
It is this element that is worrying and calls for greater involvement by Kenyans officials to have the matter reviewed.
If, indeed, all the South Sudanese officials want is co-operation in solving the case of money alleged to have been stolen, then it’s a genuine demand.
After all, South Sudan as a member of the East African Community has committed itself to forging closer ties and co-operation in all spheres, including cross-border crime. The most logical next step is for our Foreign Affairs ministry to assist the jailed Kenyans to file appeals. If a fair process confirms their guilt they should serve the sentences.