By Samuel Ouma
President Uhuru Kenyatta has lauded the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) for its commitment to serving beyond its core mandate of defending the country against external aggression.
President Kenyatta spoke Friday when he presided over the passing out parade of KDF recruits at the Recruits Training School (RTS) in Eldoret, Kenya’s North Rift, where he congratulated the graduands for completing a rigorous six months basic military training course.
He pointed out that as a modern and versatile military, the KDF has embraced unfamiliar nation-building roles and excelled in them.
“Due to your record of delivering superlative results, I have tasked the KDF from time to time to take charge of various strategic national programmes and even to rescue failing institutions.
“You did it with the revival of almost 600 kilometres of the dead Metre Guage in an impressive manner, ahead of schedule and within the budget,” the President said.
The President also cited the revival of the Kenya Meat Commission into a profit-making enterprise in record time and the Kenya Shipyard Limited, poised to be the largest shipyard in Sub-Saharan Africa, as some of the KDF’s achievements in supporting the country’s development agenda.
Other KDF achievements include building the Uhuru Gardens National Monument and Museum in only 22 months instead of 10 years and increased access to basic health services for Nairobi residents done by the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS).
“You also did it for the nation when you anchored our national response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and in moments of national disasters and civil emergencies, your efforts saved lives and property,” President Kenyatta said.
He expressed gratitude to Chief of Defence Forces Gen Robert Kibochi, Service Commanders, and all senior military officers for their outstanding stewardship of the KDF.
At the same time, President Kenyatta noted that the Government has invested heavily in training officers, providing ultra-modern equipment, improving healthcare facilities, accommodation, remuneration and the general terms and conditions of service for the military.
“Over the last nine years, in recognition of the importance of peace and security to the realization of our development agenda, we have undertaken the most consequential and expansive modernization of our military in our nation’s history,” the President said.
In addition, President Kenyatta said the Government enacted a law that safeguards the KDF officers in their retirement and facilitates the integration of those incapacitated or severely wounded in the course of duties.