, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 31 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has outlined his security agenda for the country when he opened a high level seminar on national security in Nairobi.
In a 10-point statement that defines his vision for the country’s security, President Kenyatta laid down the steps towards guarding against security threats, protecting the nation’s sovereignty and driving its development agenda.
He said the government’s job was to build a strong State whose actions will be guided and constrained by the spirit and letter of the country’s democratic Constitution.
President Kenyatta singled out the State’s monopoly of violence, saying the disciplined services must become the only actors with the legitimacy to use force.
“They must be ready, willing and able to secure the persons and property of all citizens. This is a key dimension of national security,” President Kenyatta said.
He cited effective administrative control, saying it will ensure the reach of government authority over the territory of Kenya.
He emphasised the need for prudence in public finances, noting that no State can be sovereign while it relies on external sources to fund its operations.
“Fortunately, Kenya is not in this position, but a large section of the most vocal civil society is hopelessly dependent on foreign funding, particularly from governments with interests that may conflict with our national security,” he said.
President Kenyatta stressed the need to invest in human capital. Failure to invest in the livelihoods of the country’s youth, he said, directly threatened national security.
In addition, the President said the young people’s inability to participate in the economy limits the state’s income and its ability to deliver security.
President Kenyatta underscored national unity as a key component of security. Without a widespread perception of equality of opportunity obtaining, he said, the country will never exit ethnic politics and division.
“We need national unity to have citizens who embrace their rights and duties in a way that does not produce permanent social or political ruptures. A concrete example is the need for all Kenyans who voted for the opposition to be served equally as those who supported Jubilee into power,” President Kenyatta said.
The President also cited provision of infrastructure services as key to security. He said transportation, energy and water are fundamental to the Government’s ability to provide security, administrative control and to open market to all citizens.
“Any gaps in any of these could allow main actors, like terrorist organisations or their sympathisers, room to operate in Kenya through the provision of basic services – leading to “capturing” our people,” President Kenyatta said.
On formation of the market, the President said the large size of the informal market signalled a refusal or inability to enter the legal realm the state oversees.
“This denies tax collection and by extension undermines state capability,” the President said.
The President pointed out that management of the state’s assets, including the environment, natural resources and mitigating the negative effects of climate change were vital to ensuring security.
“Failure to regulate effectively leads to violent local and even inter-state conflict. This invites us all to think carefully about the management of new resources such as the newly discovered fossil fuels and minerals,” President Kenyatta said.
President Kenyatta also underlined the importance of Kenyan diplomats in security, saying they are the country’s first line of defence abroad.
“They identify threats, utilise the instruments of bilateral and multilateral diplomacy to pre-empt or manage them. They advise on the external implications of treaties, and coordinate closely with other national security organs,” he said.
He emphasised the need for Kenyans to also strictly observe the rule of law.
“Without a broadly observed rule of law, criminality and insecurity become rife,” the President said.
The seminar was also addressed by Deputy President William Ruto and Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo.
The President’s 10-point security agenda includes:
” Legitimate monopoly on the means of violence
” Effective administrative control
” Management of public finances
” Investment in human capital
” Delineation of citizenship rights and duties
” Provision of infrastructure services
” Formation of the market
” Management of the state’s assets
” International relations
” The rule of law