, LANET, Kenya, Oct 14 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has honoured gallant Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers for devoting their lives to defending the nation.
The President particularly paid tribute to soldiers who have lost their lives in various military operations, including international peacekeeping missions all over the world.
“We commemorate our fallen heroes in the knowledge that although they are departed, their spirit lives on with us, and in each one of us,” the President said.
He said Kenya’s men and women in uniform have always inspired a sense of dedication to duty, pride and professionalism in their rank and file.
The President – in military gear – spoke at the 3 Kenya Rifles Lanet Barracks in Nakuru County where he presided over the KDF Day. The celebrations marked by various military exhibitions, cultural dances and choirs were crowned by a free fall display by paratroopers from the 20 Para Battalion of the Ranger Regiment.
President Kenyatta commended the KDF for their professionalism, steadfastness and loyalty to the Government of the day.
“The KDF, born after the promulgation of our new Constitution, continues to build on the high standards of professionalism and discipline that its predecessor upheld. That is why it has already become the efficient, modern and patriotic organisation that Kenyans are rightly proud of,” he said.
As the Kenya Defence Forces scale up their efforts to defend the country against emerging challenges including terrorism, President Kenyatta said security is a shared responsibility. He urged all Kenyans to play their part in ensuring the country is safe by reporting to the authorities any suspicious elements and activities.
He applauded Kenyans for remaining united and avoiding to fall into the whims of terrorists.
“These terrorists still target unarmed civilians, hoping to create fear in our hearts, and to divide and sow hatred among us. But broadly speaking, we as a nation have, when it matters most, shown a sense of unity and therefore avoided falling into the whims of thieves and murderers,” he said.
The President noted that part of Kenya’s resilience is owed to the KDF, whose diligence in protecting the nation and the region from terrorists has been outstanding.
“Let me commend your exceptional conduct of “Operation Linda Nchi”, which culminated in the liberation of Kismayu from the Al Shabaab terrorists, and which has been rewarded with other significant advances in recent months,” the President said.
Unlike the terrorists, President Kenyatta observed, the Kenya Defence Forces believe in the sanctity of human life, in the dignity of all people – whatever their religion – and in the cohesion of different communities.
To ensure that the heroic toil of the country’s men and women in uniform are always remembered, President Kenyatta launched a book, Operation Linda Nchi documenting KDF’s experiences in Somalia.
Noting that the men and women serving in the military come from different regions, communities and faiths, the President said KDF is a living symbol of Kenya’s national unity.
Speaking during the occasion, Defence Cabinet Secretary Amb Raychelle Omamo thanked President Kenyatta for his unwavering support to the Kenya Defence Forces.
The Cabinet Secretary assured that the Ministry of Defence will also continue facilitating KDF to effectively fulfil its mandate.
Chief of Defence Forces General Julius Karangi took issue with those criticising the KDF for venturing in Somalia, saying Al-Shabaab militia started the war by its constant attacks across the Kenyan borders.
The celebrations were attended by military chiefs from the region and veteran soldiers who have served the nation at different epochs of the country’s military growth.