Kenya played host to a delegation of diplomatic Missions, families and KDF fraternity at Mariakani Garissons Wednesday to commemorate the 9th Kenya Defense Forces Day set for every October 14 since 2011.
Speaking during the event, Defense Cabinet Secretary Dr. Monica Juma said the KDF Day was set to express gratitude, admiration and support for the brave men and women who answered the noble call of duty to defend and protect the country.
Juma observed that the KDF Day celebrates sons and daughters of Kenya who on every working day guaranteed all citizens their freedoms.
The CS termed the occasion as solemn especially when celebrating the fallen heroes and heroines who had paid the ultimate price in the defense of the republic of Kenya.
“The sacrifice shall never be in vain and so we gather here today to remember and uphold their aspirations to secure and defend our nation,” said Juma
The CS led the gathering in observing a minute of silence in memory of the departed praying that their souls rest in peace as she assured commitment of those left to dedicate their lives to realize the aspirations of the departed.
“In remembering our heroes and heroines, we today wrapped our arms around every family that has lost a loved one in the course of duty,” condoled the CS
The CS had on an earlier day met the families that have lost a loved one in the line of duty in Mariakani Garisson Mombasa saying she was impressed and learned a lot of lessons on their expressed resilience and determination to carry the visions of their departed loved ones.
She assured the families that they were still part of the KDF fraternity and the Ministry of Defense in general and they would walk together in life’s opportunities and challenges.
The celebration also exalted and honoured those who served in the Defense Forces in the republic thanking especially those who were in the front line and those who have served this nation noting that the country was indebted to them.
She appreciated that Kenyans and those within its territory sleep easy because KDF watches over them and added that Kenyans could go about their duties with an assurance of KDF sacrifices.
“Our country has become an investment destination of choice because you have volunteered to make it great where our nation has become a demonstrative leader because you watch and guarantee the freedoms, the norms and the standards that secure our nation, our region and our world,” observed the CS.
The Cabinet Secretary commended the KDF forces for proving as guardians of peace, stability and democracy in the region saying “for all these gifts, we say thank you”.
From 2011, the CS was intensely involved in the negotiations for the deployment of KDF troops into the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) honouring the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2036 during operation Linda Nchi when she was in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
She reiterated the significant contribution KDF has made towards Amisom efforts in changing the material circumstance on the ground in Somalia where the Al-Shabaab militia has been degraded though still remains a threat.
She said the KDF and Amisom have created space for normalization of life attesting the restoration of governance and a growing capacity in Somalia.
“Most significantly, the blatant attacks on our territory from across the border have reduced remarkably enabling our populations to engage in productive lives,” said the CS adding “that is why the KDF day was important since it enables us to reflect on where we have come from and thank our gallant forces for being the game changer that made these positive change.”
“The ethos of positivity and impact to communities where we operate even in Somalia is commendable,” complimented the CS.
She said owing to KDF competencies, “We have seen our navy and other services respond as far as Mozambique, Sudan and other places”.
Juma reiterated on the goal and doctrine of investing in the communities strengthening military civil relations and contributing to the country’s development agenda through its dedicated professionals including responding to distress calls during disasters caused by nature or human.
KDF supports in attainment of Kenya Vision 2030 and the big four agenda for example coordinating with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) in closing the illegal border entry points and increase the government revenue flow.
“Our engagement in the rehabilitation of critical infrastructure is a clear manifestation of our commitment towards government developments,” she noted.
“We are alive to leverage our capacity and deploy our competence in support of other civil authorities as we respond to the needs of the populations, the people in our region and other areas of our operation,” said CS Juma
The Cabinet Secretary was the guest of honour at the event and had a message of regard from President Uhuru Kenyatta, the Commander in Chief of the Defense Forces of Kenya in the presence of a delegation that included the Russian and Ethiopian Ambassadors to Kenya, the Chief of the Defense Forces Uganda and Defense Attaches from different countries.
Other important guests who graced the occasion included General Robert Kibochi Chief of the Defense Forces, Lt W. R. Koipaton Commander of Kenya Army, Maj Gen F.O Ogolla Commander Kenya Air Force, Maj Gen J.L Mutai Commander Kenya Navy among other important guests.
By Joseph Kamolo