Duale: No strings attached to US military aid

Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale. [Kelly Ayodi, Standard]

Defense Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale now says that there are no hidden conditions in the military cooperation agreements signed during President William Ruto's recent State Visit to the US.

During the visit, the US government committed to supplying Kenya with substantial military hardware, offering military training opportunities, and providing a Strategic Logistics Advisor to Kenya’s Ministry of Defence, for the first time.

These commitments have raised questions among Kenyans about what President Ruto may have conceded in return.

However, Duale denied any quid-pro-quo arrangement between the two countries, saying that the US is interested in global peace and recognising Kenya as an anchor state in the Horn of Africa.

This relationship has led to Kenya’s designation as a Major Non-NATO US Ally.

"Kenya was chosen because of its robust relationship with the US. As an anchor state in our region, we work closely to secure our country and the region, addressing challenges such as terrorism," Duale said on Citizen TV on Wednesday night.

Under the agreement, Kenya will receive 16 US-manufactured helicopters; eight Hueys and eight MD 500s. Additionally, 150 M1117 armored security vehicles will arrive in September 2024.

Duale assured that the helicopters will be inspected thoroughly to avoid issues that led to previous KDF plane crashes, such as the one that resulted in the death of senior military officers, including CDF Francis Ogolla.

"We will not accept fifty-year-old helicopters. Our technical teams will assess them before acquisition. These sixteen new helicopters will enhance our air assets and KDF capabilities," he said.

Haiti Deployment

The Defense CS also addressed criticisms regarding Kenya’s planned UN-backed deployment of a thousand police officers to restore order in gang-controlled Haiti.

He highlighted Kenya’s experience and high regard among peers due to successful past operations and its role as a peace negotiator for countries facing instability.

"The US Department of Defense will provide logistics, and communication centers, and coordinate intelligence gathering and sharing. We are not walking into a dark room; we know what we are doing," he said.