The end of the year is the quintessential time for us all to look back, reflect, and be reminded of all we have been through, where we are headed, and what we are thankful for.
The year 2022 saw us
successfully continue in delivering on our year mandate in safeguarding our national interests.
Our nation remained a beacon of peace and stability in the region, which was clearly demonstrated during the recent peaceful elections and transfer of power.
KDF demonstration of enduring professionalism and mission readiness throughout all seasons signalled Kenya’s dependability to its international and regional partners.
Regionally and Internationally, KDF continues to remain a key player in contributing to global and regional peace and stability through various assignments with the United Nations (UN), the African Union (AU) and the East Africa Community (EAC).
During the year, our gallant soldiers significantly continued to degrade the terrorist group Al Shabaab and assisted in restoring peace and stability in Somalia under the umbrella of ATMIS.
We also continue to train and mentor the Somalia Security Forces (SSF) to enable them to take up the responsibility of ensuring the stability of their nation as ATMIS exits Somalia by December 2024.
Additionally, following the invitation of EAC member states by the Government of DR Congo to stabilize Eastern DR Congo, KDF contributed troops including the Force Commander under the East African Community Regional Force (EACRF) to assist in stabilizing the region.
Our brave soldiers are currently deployed and operating in Eastern Congo.
Moreover, in the international spectra, KDF continues to collaborate and engage with varied international partners, consolidating and strengthening relations in matters of training, exercises and operations in sharpening the arrowhead for mission readiness.
Back at home, our troops have been involved in various Multi-agency operations and training exercises which have enhanced and ensured a collective and synergized approach in handling national security issues.
Guided by the constitution, the success of ‘OPERATION AMANI BONI’ in Lamu and ‘OPERATION REJESHA UTULIVU’ in Laikipia among others is a clear demonstration of a collective positive effort on security matters.
The Disaster Response Unit has also been at the forefront of supporting the civil authorities in situations of emergencies and disasters.
Continuous quality training is designed to maintain the force at the highest levels of mission readiness.
In addressing identified capability gaps through education and training of personnel, KDF has continued to invest in education and training institutions aimed at building tactical and technical capacity across all levels of leadership for itself and other security agencies.
To this end, during the year we witnessed the inauguration of the National Defence University-Kenya (NDU-K), Aviation Centre of Excellence (ACE) and Communications Information Systems, Maintenance and Innovation Centre (CISMIC).
Additionally, the Counter-Insurgency, Terrorism and Stability Operations Training Centre (CITSO), a premier training institution that is focused on combating all forms of irregular or hybrid threats; which include counter insurgencies and counter-terrorism efforts and subsequent stabilization operations will soon be operationalised.
The need for a tech-savvy and adaptable force that is able to develop and maintain superior technology to deal with the emerging threat of cyberspace warfare cannot be overstated. KDF has continued to develop capabilities to operate effectively in this domain.
Consequently, during the year the Commander in Chief commissioned the Cyber Warfare Centre (Moran Centre) to effectively deal with this threat.
The wider engagement has also seen KDF participation in socio-economic development with successes realized including; the turn-around of the Kenya Meat Commission, construction and establishment of the Kenya Shipyards Limited, revamping of the Kenya Railway, construction of Uhuru Gardens National Monument and Museum and rehabilitation of Uhuru park among others.
This has seen KDF contribute immensely in support of our national development goals and the creation of employment as envisioned in Kenya vision 2030.
KDF in answering the national government’s call towards alleviating the suffering of our brothers and sisters as a result of drought sacrificed by each service personnel contributing one-day’s-pay to the national famine relief kitty. These acts of compassion will never pass unnoticed.
On healthcare, we continued to revamp our medical facilities to enable a healthy and fit fighting force and quality health services for our families.
The units MRS were and continue to be upgraded.
We also constructed and operationalised Level IV regional hospitals in Isiolo and Eldoret while Lanet is under construction.
Additionally, the Defence Forces Memorial Hospital is progressively being upgraded to Level V and construction of Level VI hospital at Kabete, the first of its kind in East and Central Africa is ongoing.
To complement our healthcare system, we commissioned and operationalized an ultra-modern stadium – Ulinzi Sports Complex. The Ulinzi Sports Complex is a 10,000-seater capacity stadium with a 400 metres – 8 lanes standard running track, an international football pitch, a gym, an indoor arena that can host all indoor games with a sitting capacity of 900 and an Olympic standard swimming pool.
It is also home to our very own football team – the Ulinzi Stars.
Consistent with my soldier-centric approach to welfare service, we have developed a robust soldier-centric welfare framework aligned to meeting emerging challenges facing our officers and service members. We are and continue to pursue the provision of decent housing to all personnel.
The revised Military Veterans Bill, 2013 was assented and enacted as Military Veterans Act, 2022. Following the enactment of the act, we established the Veterans Affairs Directorate to manage the welfare of Veterans.
The directorate is now operational and serving our veterans.
KDF-sponsored primary and secondary schools, received varying support including renovation and expansion of classrooms and dormitories, and new school equipment and materials just to mention a few.
This is to ensure our children learning environment is conducive thus raising the standard of performance.
DESACCO continues to offer financial solutions as part of KDF welfare cluster institutions.
It provides saving opportunities and affordable credit facilities to both serving and veteran KDF personnel.
The SACCO has continued to expand its range of services and products; I encourage all of us to join and patronize SACCO loans and FOSA.
The operations of DEFCO have greatly improved, to this end, we built and commissioned modern DEFCO malls at the
Defence Headquarters and in Embakasi Garrison.
Kahawa is under construction and this will be replicated in all regions.
We will continue to ensure that KDF personnel, their families and veterans get the best possible welfare service in order to continue sharpening the arrowhead for mission readiness in service of our great nation – Kenya.
KDF continues to perform exemplarily in the field of sports both nationally and internationally promoting Kenya’s image globally.
Further, during this year’s Nairobi International Trade Fair, KDF won 12 out of possible 15 awards.
This demonstrates patriotism, professionalism, discipline and mission readiness earning KDF national and global recognition.
We also continue to contribute to alleviating the challenges of climate change by planting trees through the environmental soldier programme.
I urge us all to join and partner with other like-minded Kenyans and institutions in participating in tree planting in our areas.
As the year 2022 ends, I would like to thank you all for your hard work, commitment and dedication.
As we approach the new year, I wish you success and prosperity.
In conclusion, let me extend my sincere gratitude to His Excellency the President of the Republic of Kenya and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces for his continued guidance and support towards the execution of our mandate in service to the people of Kenya.
To our families, I salute you, the essence and strength of every KDF soldier are anchored in the love and support of our families, who are the mainstay of our very existence.
I thank you for your continued support and patience.
To those who lost their loved ones, I assure you that their sacrifice was not in vain. We are forever indebted for their sacrifice to our nation – Kenya.
I also thank the people of the Republic of Kenya who has always shown confidence in us and continued to play a key role in supporting us in our efforts in various capacities.
Finally, I thank Almighty God for His providence throughout the year.