Article 240 (8) of the Kenyan Constitution states that the National Security Council, with the approval of Parliament, deploys troops outside Kenya for peace support operations. And while appearing before the Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations yesterday, Duale said that despite the president flagging off the soldiers the troops were not yet deployed and would only do so once the House approved.
"The president announced that our forces are being deployed, now you are coming to get approval from Parliament. So, what needs to have been done [first], is it not what you are doing here?" Kajiado Central legislator Elijah Kanchory Memusi asked.
Duale said that the president's event was part of troop preparation and did not mean that the soldiers were deployed.
"Do not listen to anything about a deployment. What has been deployed? This is the Deputy Chief of Defence Forces, so there is nobody who has been deployed," Duale said.
But Duale said the process of deploying the troops started in July and the final actions were the approval of the Committee and the House. Deputy CDF Francis Ogolla, who accompanied Duale to Parliament said the military was anticipating the deployment after discussions began between EAC Heads of State.
"We immediately commenced the preparations. You don't want to be told to provide a force to Congo and then tell your Commander-in-Chief to give you time to prepare. We have to prepare to the extent that if Parliament gives the approval today we'll be willing to fly tonight," Ogola said.
Memusi was concerned that Parliament would look like they were acting at the whims of the Executive. He said that Parliamentary approval should have been the first step and coming to the House after the troops had been handed the flag would look bad to the public.
"Something was skipped, if Parliament does not approve the deployment of our forces, how does that look in the eyes of Kenyans?" he posed
And should Parliament approve "we look like we have just done what the president said should be done. We look like a rubber stamp."
Deployment of Kenyan troops to the DRC follows a decision endorsed and adopted by regional leaders at the third EAC Heads of State Conclave on Peace and Security in Eastern DRC held in Nairobi in June 2022. The Conclave agreed to have an East Africa Community Regional Force (EACRF) to quell a flare-up of violence in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The force will be commanded by KDF's Major General Jeff Nyaga.
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