Taxpayers will fork out 7.2 billion a year to support the Kenya Defence Forces troops peace-keeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The details emerged when Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale appeared before the National Assembly’s Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations seeking approval for the deployment of KDF to Eastern DRC as required by law.
However, Deputy Chief of Defence Forces Francis Ogolla stated that the Sh7.2 billion is a provisional figure and that funding for the military program is done from multilateral organisations supporting the peace efforts at the East African Community (EAC) level and the African Union’s Peace and Security Council.
Lt Gen Ogolla promised that once the peace mission commences, they would come back and update Parliament on the funds generated for the programme.
“These are not responsibilities we can run away from. Peace in DRC equals peace in Kenya,” said the Deputy Chief of Defence Forces quoting President William Ruto’s speech when addressing the United Nations General Assembly.
Article 240 (8) of the Kenyan Constitution states that the National Security Council, only with the approval of Parliament will it deploy troops outside Kenya for peace support operations.
Facing a barrage of questions from the MPs who accused the Ministry of jumping the gun and pushing for deployment before Parliament’s approval, Duale defended the peace mission in DRC saying that former President Uhuru Kenyatta and the National Security Council made the decision in accordance with the law.
“What ought to have come before the president’s pronouncement that our forces are being deployed was what you are now doing here,” said Kajiado Central MP Elijah Memusi.
Last week, Duale wrote a letter to Parliament seeking approval of the rapid deployment of KDF personnel to the East African Community regional force to the DRC for peacekeeping.
The decision to deploy troops was endorsed and adopted by regional leaders at the third East African Community Heads of State Conclave on Peace and Security in Eastern DRC held in Nairobi in June.
The Deputy Chief of Defence Forces said the mission is expected to last six months if everything goes as planned but in what he says is “prudence in military planning” the KDF has planned for a possible extended period.
“If the worst-case scenario comes and we are there for one year, it will cost us approximately Sh7.2 billion. If we stay for more than one year, the recurrent expenditure depending on the nature and ton of operation, it will be between Sh5.5billion and 6 billion,” said Lt Gen Ogolla.
The committee will retreat to write a report on Tuesday and possibly to table the report on the floor of the House on Wednesday November 9.