Defence Cabinet Secretary Hon. Aden Duale has affirmed his commitment to promote the plight of military veterans with a view of ensuring they live honorable lives after retiring from the military.
The CS noted that military men and women put their lives on the line for the defence of their motherland, yet some of the gallant sons and daughters of the Republic have been disappearing into oblivion in the past due to lack of structures that would comprehensively cater for all the welfare needs of retired KDF personnel.
Speaking when he inaugurated the first Military Veterans Advisory Committee at Defence Headquarters in Nairobi today, the CS pledged his unwavering support and commitment to ensure the KDF retirees live in dignity in their sunset years after retirement.
The ten-member committee comprising of both officers and service members was gazetted on 1st April 2023 and is legally mandated to spearhead welfare issues of military veterans.
The CS urged the committee members to exercise their responsibilities selflessly and diligently in order to ensure the fulfilment of the Veterans’ Act principal objectives and attendant purposes that are aimed at promoting the welfare of military veterans.
“Over the years, the Ministry of Defence and the National Government have endeavoured to address the plight of KDF personnel especially those retired from active service in terms of economic empowerment and medical care. However, their social status and ability to foot their medical bills remain a challenge in today’s environment that presents volatilities, uncertainties, complexities and ambiguities that are likely to influence and undermine the respect of the fast-growing population of retired heroes and heroines of this great nation”, said Hon. Duale.
He added that if these threats and challenges are not appropriately and adequately mitigated, they may have existential consequences for our ex-KDF personnel in the future.
The CS noted that efforts and wide consultations that are in place towards the establishment and actualization of the Directorate of Veterans Affairs and challenged the team to leave a mark during their four years in office for their successors to build on.
His sentiments were echoed by the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) General Francis Ogolla who exuded confidence in the team to come up with feasible recommendations to enhance the welfare of the retirees.
The CDF noted that the journey to have a Veteran Bill has been long and coupled with a number of roadblocks but the efforts seem to be bearing fruits and pledged his total support to make a difference.
“Many soldiers are forced to live in deplorable conditions even after serving their nation with dedication but we are glad this shall be cured through the Veterans Bill. The Committee is expected to come up with recommendations on how to improve the situation for they to enjoy their life after retirement from active service,” said the CDF.
Others who attended the event include the Principal Secretary Mr. Patrick Mariru, Vice Chief of Defence Forces (VCDF) Lieutenant General Jonah Mwangi, Service Commanders, Senior Officers, Officers and veterans.