Chief of the Defence Forces (CDF) General Robert Kibochi on Thursday, 17 March 2022, presided over the commissioning of the Military Wives Association of Kenya (MWAK) Secretariat offices and the Defence Forces Canteens Organization (DEFCO) Mall at the Defence Headquarters in Nairobi.
During the twin event, the CDF unveiled a five-year MWAK Strategic Plan through which the association intends to execute its mandate on six thematic pillars namely: Health, Education, Mentorship, Housing, Veteran Affairs as well as Recreation and Well-Being.
The CDF was taken through the MWAK Secretariat Offices by the Chairperson Mrs. Tabitha Kibochi and her Vice Chairperson Mrs. Aileen Ogolla.
The commissioning of MWAK’s Secretariat coincided with its first anniversary having been inagurated on 17 March 2021.
The CDF, in his speech, lauded MWAK for accomplishing so much in just a year of their existence and assured its leadership of his continued support, and took the occasion to gift the association with a new 14-seater van.
“I am totally impressed by the pace at which you’re moving. Within such a short period, you have been able to visit 23 military bases, units and establishments and taken various initiatives there. When the history of KDF is written, you will be a chapter, not a footnote,” said the CDF.
He said that KDF is undertaking various improvements in KDF-sponsored schools in terms of facilities and is liaising with the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to deploy more teachers to replace those employed by the Board of Management (BOM).
On the health pillar, General Kibochi confirmed that KDF is undertaking serious infrastructural development to upscale health services and establish regional hospitals to meet the health demands of the service personnel.
“The Defence Forces Medical Insurance Scheme is also working on modalities of ensuring that retired Service Personnel and their families can access KDF hospitals and get services,” said Gen Kibochi.
On housing, the CDF noted that it was a major challenge faced by both serving and retired Personnel. “We have embarked on a project of developing over 3,000 houses across the entire KDF starting with Roysambu in Nairobi, Nyali in Mombasa, Nanyuki and, Lanet regions and in the future we will expand to other areas.”
The CDF further assured MWAK of his support as they embark on the implementation of the Strategic Plan. “It’s going to require resources and therefore you have our support, that of the Vice Chief of the Defence Forces (VCDF) and Service Commanders to make sure you succeed in your endeavours,” said the CDF.
On her part, Mrs. Kibochi said the office building is a dream come true, citing that their mandate to improve the welfare of KDF families had received a major boost and shall be able to reach and attend to more people.
“We are forever grateful for the help extended to MWAK. Within a year, we have achieved much, courtesy of the assistance we have received from the CDF, Service Commanders and the entire KDF leadership,” said the MWAK Chairperson.
On DEFCO, the CDF commended its leadership for the transformation of the DEFCO Malls and Shops across all military installations. He also cited the ongoing modernisation of DEFCO shops to state-of-the-art malls in to align with contemporary practices. To achieve this, the CDF called on all DEFCO staff to ensure delivery of welfare services to KDF troops and families in the most humane way and called for the integrity of DEFCO staff to be beyond reproach.
“We have plans to roll out new malls like this one across the entire KDF and the idea is to transform shopping from the traditional system to a contemporary one. This calls for change of attitude and honesty among the workers. With the right approach, we can turn around DEFCO shops,” said the CDF.
DEFCO Managing Director, Brigadier Albert Nderi said that plans are in place to appreciate the ever-growing customer base by awarding them with reward points in the next three months which shall culminate in a mega draw.
He said stringent measures have also been put in place to streamline the sale of products as well as the development of a website to interact with their various customers.
The event was attended by VCDF Lieutenant General Francis Ogolla, Service Commanders, General Officers, Senior Officers, Officers, MWAK officials and members, DEFCO staff, Service Members and families of KDF Service personnel.