In the next 15 days, the Ministry of Defence (MoD), in line with its mandate to aid civil authorities and in executing directives of government, will launch a number of projects that contribute to the National Development Agenda.
The projects were done by the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) alone or in cooperation with other ministries, departments and agencies. Other projects were initiatives of KDF and the private sector while one was done by KDF in collaboration with the academia. Each of these projects has been delivered to the highest level of professionalism, demonstrating the competencies of the MOD in general and KDF in particular, and are proof of our fidelity to the constitutional obligation to contribute to the national aspirations of our motherland.
Today, the President Uhuru Kenyatta will preside over the launch of Kenya Defence Forces’ Operational Vehicles and Engineer Equipment at the Thika Barracks. In the nature of our business, troops’ morale and resources play a key role in mission readiness and mission success. This project, therefore, is aimed at enhancing the state of troop readiness and agility.
Apart from boosting the troops’ morale, the project will support them to achieve results, guarantee territorial integrity and sovereignty of our nation and protect the citizens. Significantly, this project is undertaken with industries in an effort to promote local industry through the Buy Kenya, Build Kenya policy. The local vehicle assemblers and franchises namely Toyota (Kenya), Isuzu East Africa, Mantrac (Kenya) and PRD Rigs (Kenya) entered into a framework agreement with the MoD for the acquisition and supply of assorted pick-ups, trucks, prime movers, water drilling rigs and a range of engineering equipment.
On May 24, we roll off the full production at the Kenya Meat Commission (KMC). Over the last few months we have refurbished this strategic installation and set up robust business process systems to cater for the needs of livestock farmers and the general public. The ministerial responsibility for the KMC was transferred to the MoD on September 7, 2020. From the beginning we knew the KMC takeover and revamp was not your usual task. We also knew from the start that there was no option of failure. The strategic guidance to the MoD was to revamp operations and production with the objective of ensuring the commission’s survival. All officers deployed for this task applied themselves around the clock, drawing on best practices in the industry beyond our borders, responding to the needs of the stakeholders including paying outstanding debts and effecting proactive components of income generation with the end in mind – Kenyans and livestock farmers. I can now confirm that the facility is revamped, systems tested and ready to contribute to the national food security and to generate income for the exchequer.
On May 27, we will receive from the President the much-awaited charter for the National Defence University (NDU). This is a significant addition to the growing ecosystem of centres of excellence in training within the MoD. Without a well-grounded human resource at the strategic policy level, any government would not effectively pursue its desired development path nor can national interests in today’s competitive world order be corrected, framed, pursued and achieved. NDU will stand us well in the family of lead training, research and analysis institutions dealing with defence, security and strategic matters.
We will then launch the 217km Nakuru-Kisumu railway. The full functioning of this rail road will provide seamless transportation from the Mombasa port to Kisumu. If the example of the Thika-Nanyuki is anything to go by, both the railway and shipyard are set to spur economic activity through the facilitation of the movement of people, goods and services across Kenya and around the Lake Victoria region into Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the DRC via Lake Victoria.
To spur the manufacturing pillar, the newest State Corporation under the Ministry of Defence; the Kenya Shipyards Limited will be launched on May 31, 2021. The Kisumu Shipyard to be launched, ahead of Madaraka Day celebrations in Kisumu, will augment the metre gauge rail transport system. The construction, rehabilitation and expansion of this important lake transport facility has restored Kisumu port into a modern regional lake transport hub with an improved capability to handle large volumes of cargo.
Regional East African Co-operation commerce is set for renewal by movement of ferries and other marine vessels plying Kisumu (Kenya)-Jinja (Uganda)-Musoma (Tanzania) ports. The Kenya Shipyards Limited is mandated to catalyse shipbuilding and unlock the blue economy in Lake Victoria and Western Kenya.
Each of these projects has been executed ahead of its estimated completion time, amidst a number of challenges. Since last year, our nation has been grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic that has disrupted our growth trajectory. We have also been contending with floods and locusts. In spite of this, our officers, anchored on firm traditions that have taken root in this most distinguished institution, kept the work going. From the clear strategic guidance of the Commander-in-Chief, driven by clear rules and procedures, and powered by the predictability and stability brand that has come to epitomise the KDF, our ministry has remained steadfast in its delivery of all these and other ongoing projects.
Badge of honour
There could not have been a better time to deliver these critical projects than days to Madaraka Day. It reaffirms the centrality of determining our own destiny because no one else can and will. The future of Kenya is squarely in our hands and we must rise to this historic mission. As an institution that is looked upon by Kenyans, and in our usual character, we have and will continue to put our best foot forward to deliver for country.
These 15 days of delivery by MoD are a badge of honour for me, as the Cabinet Secretary responsible for a most significant and solemn mandate: The defence and protection of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our nation. It is a badge I share with my entire team of distinguished, patriotic men and women of valour who are, because Kenya is. I, therefore, thank all the personnel at the MoD, both uniformed and civilian for their exemplary service. Your commitment and patriotic service to and for Kenyans and humanity continue to make significant positive impact and to inspire us all. The 15 days of delivery by MoD embody our commitment to our mission and vision to serve and defend Kenya.
Amb. Dr. Monica Juma, (Oxon), EGH is the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Defence.