Kenya Television Network (KTN) has apologized for disrespectful remarks directed towards South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir.
While appearing on the Kenyan-based television station last week, renowned South Sudanese activist Peter Biar Ajak claimed President Kiir failed to address mourners at the late Kenyan leader Mwai Kibaki’s funeral service in Nairobi due to “a hangover”.
Kiir was among the leaders invited for the funeral of Kenya’s third president.
The activist’s remarks against the South Sudanese leader caused a diplomatic row between the two countries after South Sudan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation handed over a protest letter to the Kenyan envoy in Juba.
The Kenyan ambassador to South Sudan, Samuel Nandwa regretted the incident which transpired on the television station and promised to act.
KTN, in a May 10 letter, apologized to President Kiir for what it described as “inaccurate and unfortunate remarks about him on the television”.
“Sir, on behalf of the Standard Group PLC management and employees, I take this early opportunity to sincerely apologize to you personally for the agony and anguish our mistake has caused you, the government, and the people of South Sudan,” partly reads the apology.
The letter, signed by KTN’s editor-in-chief Ochieng Raputo, further stated that the unfortunate remarks have undoubtedly unsettled the cordial and mutually beneficial relationship that the Standard Group has over the years enjoyed with the leadership, government, and the people of South Sudan.
The Standard Group and its media platforms promised to remain open to President Kiir’s government and the people of South Sudan to engage in conversations that advance the cause of human progress in the region.
“We proposed to offer an official retraction to you on air this Wednesday morning when the weekly program in which the mistake was made will run. Further, we are taking substantive internal measures to ensure such an incident does not happen again,” it stressed.
Meanwhile South Sudan’s Deputy Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation minister, Deng Dau Malek welcomed the Kenyan government’s decision.
“We received a positive response from the government of Kenya. They ensured an apology is issued and offered to the government of South Sudan to use the same platform to make clarifications. They also assured us that such an incident will not repeat itself in the future. These are positive measures that we have welcomed as the government. His excellency the president is informed on every step”, he remarked.
Deng said the incident would not affect relations between the two nations.