President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday presided over his last Kenya Defence Forces passing-out parade at Moi Barracks Recruit Training School in Uasin Gishu County.
It was a moment of pride as over 3,000 recruits took the oath of allegiance to serve as KDF soldiers.
Present was Chief of the Defence Forces Gen Robert Kibochi and the Recruit Training School Commandant Brig Paul Njema.
President Kenyatta commended KDF for their commitment and service to the country throughout his 10 year-term and even going beyond their core mandate by taking up other roles.
“Due to your record of delivering superlative results, I have tasked KDF from time to time to take charge of various strategic national programmes and even to rescue institutions from failure. You did it with the revival of almost 600km of the dead Metre Gauge in a very impressive manner, ahead of schedule and within the budget,” said the president.
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He further noted that the military had played a key role in the revival of Kenya Meat Commission into a profit-making enterprise as well as the Kenya Shipyard Limited now the largest shipyard in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Another achievement was the building of the Uhuru Gardens National Monument and Museum in only 22 months and the increased access to basic health services for the capital city residents done by the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS).
“You anchored our national response to Covid-19 pandemic; and in moments of national disasters and civil emergencies, your efforts saved lives and property. We see it every day and we are grateful,” added the president.
He said the military had been deployed to various locations and borders to safeguard the country, a job they took up with utmost patriotism.
“There are weighty decisions that I have had to make as Commander-in-Chief to foster the safety of every Kenyan. The most agonising were those that put our soldiers in harm's way. They were difficult decisions because the officers are our children and when they go out for any mission in defence of our borders at home or abroad, I knew too well that they would either return hoisting our national flag; or return wrapped in our national flag,” said the president.
He took time to praise his administration's efforts in improving the lives of military officers through the passage of the Military Veterans Act, passed recently, which will be helpful to the soldiers in their retirement and also facilitate the integration of those incapacitated or severely wounded in the course of duty.
He said his government had invested heavily in training, providing ultra-modern equipment, improving healthcare facilities, accommodation, remuneration and the overall terms and conditions of service for the military.
The president commissioned an ultra-modern level four Eldoret Regional Hospital, which will serve military officers and their families.
The facility with a 150-bed capacity will serve the Western circuit and the North Rift region. It will offer specialised care including surgical, internal medicine, gynecological services, pediatric services and critical care.
Noting that the political temperatures ahead of the elections was nearing fever pitch, the president urged all Kenyans to reflect on the sacrifices made by KDF officers in their service by putting the interests of the country first in everything they do.
He was accompanied by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta and Defence CS Eugene Wamalwa. Also present were commanders of the Kenya Army, Kenya Air Force and Kenya Navy.