NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 17 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has deployed the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) to beef up security in parts of Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet, Pokot and Laikipia counties.
He announced that the National Security Council – which he chairs – has authorised the immediate deployment of KDF to support the National Police Service in restoration of law and order in the troubled areas.
“The deployment will further assist in disarmament and surrender of illegally held arms,” President Kenyatta said.
He spoke at the Administration Police Training College, Embakasi, where he presided over the pass out parade of 3,985 officers after completing their nine-month training.
President Kenyatta said those who have defied orders to surrender illegal firearms are enemies of the State and will be dealt with accordingly.
He said the continued deterioration of the security situation in the affected areas has necessitated involvement of the military.
“Today we held a session as the National Security Council and agreed to authorise the Kenya Defence Forces to immediately get in and lend support to the National Police in terms of manpower and equipment so as to restore security and deal with those who continue to threaten the lives of Kenyans,” he said.
President Kenyatta affirmed his administration’s commitment to guaranteeing the safety of citizens as well as the protection of their property as enshrined in the Constitution.
“Assuring citizens of safety and order is the pre-eminent duty of any nation. It is a foundational function – one which almost every other function of the government and of society depends on,” President Kenyatta said.
He added that the government has – through its extensive work in the security sector – invested heavily in providing police with better equipment, better working facilities, more vehicles and helicopters to support efficient operations.
He said forms of the police service have been initiated to create a true meritocracy where advancement is based on excellence and misdeeds are duly disciplined.
“We have enhanced the quality of training received by police forces and you have been beneficiaries of those improvements,” President Kenyatta told the graduating police officers.
He explained that the government has also invested in training more police officers and brought down the police-citizen ratio to 1:380 down from 1:800 in a span of just three years.
He cited the installation of surveillance systems in Nairobi and Mombasa – which has seen a reduction of crimes in these areas – and the improvement of the welfare of officers by expanding police housing units and inaugurating a comprehensive health insurance scheme for police officers as part of the Government’s effort to motivate the officers and ensure efficient service.
Noting that there is still work to be done in the security sector, the President said the last three years of action from his administration constitute a beginning not an end.
“For as long as we have the mandate to do so, we will continue on the path of progress which we embarked upon in 2013,” the President said, pointing out that the Jubilee Government has held a vision of a police force that is efficient, transparent, accountable, dependable and responsive to the needs of the society.
President Kenyatta said the increased investment in the security sector and in the police forces is expected to yield a return leading to a fall in crime, peace to prevail and incidents of corruption within the police force to become relics of the past.
“We expect rapid response to reports of unrest and insecurity. We expect you to dedicate yourselves to your professional development. We expect you to explore and work towards international best practices in the execution of your operations,” he told the graduating officers.
He added: “We expect to see stronger police-community relations that allow citizens to volunteer support and information to the police forces and act as partners in the maintenance of law and order.”
The President asked police officers to shun bias and reject prejudice in favour of fairness, saying they should cultivate an atmosphere where the citizens they serve will become more trusting and less wary of men in uniform.
Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinett and his Deputy in charge of Administration Police Samuel Arachi said the new officers will be posted to rural outposts to deal with among other things cattle rustling, counter-terrorism and other banditry activities.