On September 7, President Uhuru Kenyatta issued an Executive Order transferring the Kenya Meat Commission (KMC) from the Ministry of Agriculture to the Ministry of Defence.
At that point, KMC was sinking under debts to the tune of over a billion shillings. The government-owned meat processor was operating below capacity and was grappling with an unreliable supply of raw material and an ageing plant, which had slowed down its operations.
The Athi River-based plant was slaughtering 200 cattle per week, despite having the capacity to process the same number of animals per day.
Two months later, on November 8, 2020, Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i announced that the Meat Commission had cleared the bulk of debts it owed livestock farmers and other suppliers.
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Just a couple of months after take-over by the Kenya Defence Forces, the loss-making firm had also increased the number of livestock supplied by nearly 30 per cent. Farmers received Sh250 million in debt repayment while other general suppliers got Sh150 million.
Tired with the running of the city, President Uhuru Kenyatta formed the Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS) and appointed Maj Gen Mohammed Badi to head it on March 18, 2020.
At that point, the city was on autopilot as the governor went on merrymaking. The city had sunk in garbage, the roads and streets were a mess and public transport was chaotic. Traffic snarl-ups were the second name of Nairobi and water in the slums was retailing at a high.
Today, there is a train service in place to move people from the city centre to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in twenty minutes, the city roads are tarmacked and clean, there’s no trace of garbage in the city centre and water is flowing in Mukuru and other slums of the city.
Earlier, on August 22, 2014, the President nominated Major General Philip Wachira Kameru as the Director-General of the National Intelligence Service (NIS). Mr Kameru, who had been the Director of Kenya Defence Forces’ Military Intelligence was made the President’s chief adviser on national security sitting in the National Security Advisory Committee and the National Security Council.
At that time, the country was experiencing one of the highest levels of insecurity with terrorists having a field day and striking at will. At that point in time, terror attacks were so frequent that politician Otieno Kajwang’ (now deceased) popularised the phrase ‘boom boom’ to describe the frequency of the bombs the peddlers of terror were throwing at us in the famous ‘baba while you were away’ speech.
Today, the country is one of the most secure in the region, thousands of terrorists are dead and terror groups are falling apart.
Just around the same time, a former senior military official, Major-General Gordon Kihalangwa (rtd) was named the country's new Director of Immigration. Mr Kihalangwa had left the military the previous year after attaining the mandatory retirement age. At that point, chaos reigned at Nyayo House’ Immigration as Kenyans spent days on end in search for a booklet of a passport that also carried with it thousands of shillings in bribes. Today, there’s a digital passport whose acquisition takes shorter.
All the above examples point to some level of efficiency and commitment to duty that seems to be in the DNA of our military.
So, when President Kenyatta “confesses his love affair with the military” and urges Kenyans to emulate their discipline and integrity, it is not so difficult to understand why and where he is coming from.
While inaugurating the national youth dialogue initiative at the Bomas of Kenya on Monday, the President said the military men and women had the requisite discipline needed to move the country forward. He noted, quite justifiably, that the military had acquitted itself well on all the assignments, including the rehabilitation of Kisumu port, restoring order in Nairobi City and rehabilitation of the old railway network.
“If all of us had the discipline and integrity of our Defence Forces, our country would go far. I encourage every Kenyan to be more like them for the development of our country,” said Uhuru.
I can’t agree more, going by the examples above and more.
These are people who pay the ultimate price every waking day to keep our borders safe.
-Mr Leo is a public policy analyst. [email protected]