|Kenya defence forces|
By KIBIWOTT KOROSS
The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) is considered one of the strongest militaries and most disciplined in the world. According to the African Report magazine, Kenya’s is a highly rated African army. The troops train regularly with their British and American counterparts.
“The result, as evidenced by the remarkable discipline of Kenyan soldiers whose offensive against Al-Shabaab by virtue of their collaboration with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), is one of success,” says the magazine. Unlike many other soldiers offering peace missions, Kenyan soldiers have not been mentioned in any scandal. Recently, Ugandan soldiers returning from Somalia peace operations shocked President Yoweri Museveni when they told him their commanders might have sold guns and bullets in Mogadishu. Uganda, like Kenya has troops serving in the African Union Peace Mission in Somalia (Amisom). An irritated Museveni chased away all the commanders from the meeting, except the Chief of Defence Forces, Gen Katumba Wamala, in order to allow the returning Amisom soldiers to speak out freely.
Take on Al-Shabaab
The Global Firepower Military, an online outlet that provides an analytical display of data concerning today’s world military powers ranks Kenya at position 46 in the world and 6 in Africa.
“I agree we have the strongest and the most disciplined army in the world,” says retired Army Major John Seii, “What happened at Westgate could easily erode this. Kenyans can lose trust in them which would not be good.” Kenya tops in East and Central Africa and ranked above Libya, with Egypt leading in the continent and 14th in the world, followed by Ethiopia, South Africa, Nigeria and Algeria. Only seven African countries made it to the list, with the US, Russia, China, India and the UK making the top five in the world.
The KDF, according to Global Fire Power has only 24,120 active personnel and is one of the smaller forces on the continent; however the nation’s strategic location means the Kenyan military has been highly active since its inception.
It is supplied by the US, and has a budget of around $800 million. According to Global Firepower, Kenya has 186 tanks, 12 rocket projectors, 148 aircraft and 78 helicopters. Kenya’s military has been involved in several UN peacekeeping missions in Africa and Europe.
They have also worked closely with Somalia’s military in order to take on Al-Shabaab and have joined Amisom to further aid their cause.