President Uhuru Kenyatta has named Rongo MP Dalmas Otieno of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party as one of his envoys during the South Sudan peace talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
President Kenyatta made the announcement when he met seven South Sudanese detainees who were released to Kenya last month.
Mr Otieno, a former Cabinet minister in the administrations of former President’s Daniel arap Moi and Mwai Kibaki, is a prominent member of ODM.
He was nominated to the coalition government formed after the 2008 post-election violence by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga where he was made Minister for the Public Service.
Mr Otieno will join Lt Gen Lazarus Sumbeiywo (Rtd) as President Kenyatta’s envoys to the talks.
In December, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) appointed Lt-Gen Sumbeiywo and Ethiopia’s Seyoum Mesfin to midwife talks between South Sudan rebels and Salva Kiir’s government.
Lt Gen Sumbeiywo was endorsed by President Kenyatta as the regional bloc moved to bring the parties to talk.
Incidentally, Gen Sumbeiywo mediated talks between Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement which led to the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, a treaty that outlined the steps for the eventual cessation of South Sudan.
Kenya has previously announced that it would support any diplomatic efforts to bring peace in Africa’s youngest nation.
The seven South Sudan detainees were due to fly to Addis Ababa on Wednesday to join all-party talks aimed at resolving the political crisis in Africa’s youngest nation.