Tuesday, October 15, 2013
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday urged the Kenyan military to raise its standard of professionalism.
Speaking weeks after Kenya Defence Forces ( KDF) were accused of looting during the Westgate Mall attack, the President called for a ‘total war’ on mediocrity in the military.
“Being a good example should be the easiest, and most joyful of assignments for the KDF,” said Uhuru without a direct reference to any particular challenge to the military.
He also said KDF must remain welcoming and compassionate without compromising national security, adding that the task of defending the country can be done while keeping the national character intact.
“We must not tolerate anyone who seeks to divide us on the basis of ethnicity, religion, gender or fear,” said the President.
He added: “No single community on earth is inherently evil and we must avoid the injustice of condemning entire groups for the acts of misguided individuals.”
The President spoke at the Kenya Defence forces Day celebrations at the Laikipia Airbase. He paid growing tribute to the military for stabilising Somalia, saying Kenya remained committed to taking peace to its neighbours if “our peace and security is threatened.”
Uhuru said Kenya’s military had proved that it was a strong fighting machine and that it was possible to be ‘nice guys and tough guys’ at the same time.
“None of us forgets even for a moment that every time you are called to serve, the cup of ultimate sacrifice is never far from your lips,” said the president.
Chief of Defence Forces Julius Karangi, who was honoured with a Linda Nchi Medal for sending of Air Force F1 jets into Somalia to hit Al Shabaab targets, which paved the way for the entry of the ground forces from October 14, 2011.
KDF said 33 of its soldiers have died since the intervention.
The troops currently serve under the African Mission in Somalia (Amisom) started.
Speaking at the function, Kenya
Association of Manufacturers chairman Polycarp Igathe said the capture
of Kismayu had ended the ‘free economic zone’ that made smuggling of
contraband goods into the country possible.
“The integrity, competence, character and professionalism of the KDF needs to be extended to the rest of the civil service,” said Igathe.