Chief of Defence Forces Robert Kibochi has defended the move to have military men head civilian agencies.
“The Kenya Meat Commission was not operating because the equipment was down, it was not operating because the management principles were down,” he said on KBC last night.
He went on, “When we got tasked to do this job, we just brought a team of engineers, vets, IT, etc.”
Gen Kibochi said today, farmers bring their cattle to KMC, it is weighed, and they know how much they are supposed to be paid.
“Within 72 hours, they receive their money,” Gen Kibochi said.
The CDF said the handling of the meat is so trusted that even the security sector forms part of its direct consumers. Meat and meat products from KMC are delivered to soldiers in the officers' mess, police training in Kiganjo and prisons officers.
“Even the staff who worked there before are happy with the positive changes.”
The president ordered the military to run the cash-strapped KMC in September 2020, to boost its operation and survival.
At the time of restructuring, KMC had sunk deep into a debt of Sh1.1 billion. This included livestock farmers’ dues of Sh254.4 million and outstanding payroll deductions totalling Sh144 million.
Other public entities run by the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) currently include the Uhuru Gardens Monument compound and some functions of Nairobi County under the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) headed by Major General Mohammed Badi.
Gen Kibochi said the military is part of society and should be utilised to support the people it is expected to defend.
“Security and development are intrinsically related. They are two sides of the same coin.”
The Defence forces boss said the law gives KDF several mandates, including cooperating with other government authorities as directed.
“This gives KDF the legal framework within which it can work with other agencies.”
He cited working with Kenya Railways to restore the line from Nairobi to Nanyuki, adding that KDF has a huge reservoir of resources in areas such as marine engineering and medicine.
“These are resources that have been developed by the taxpayer. If the resources are available, why not use them to develop activities that benefit Kenyans?
While the former presidents rarely co-opted the military in the day-to-day running of the government, Uhuru has shown a liking for the men in uniform.
Founding President Jomo Kenyatta, his successors Daniel Moi and Mwai Kibaki largely relied on civilian technocrats to carry even onerous tasks in government.
Uhuru’s Executive Orders have seen more men in uniform join the government as he prepares to exit the stage in 2022.
Whether by design or default, in the second term of his presidency, Uhuru has found himself increasingly knocking at the door of the Kenya Defence Forces where he is the Commander in Chief to seek out officers to carry out civilian duties.