Uhuru’s love for the military is good for Kenya

Mohamed Badi

Major General Mohamed Abdalla Badi. He was on March 18, 2020 appointed the Director General of Nairobi Metropolitan Services by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Photo credit: PSCU

This year, President Uhuru Kenyatta issued an Executive Order transferring the Kenya Meat Commission (KMC) from the Ministry of Agriculture to the Ministry of Defence.

At that point, KMC was sinking under debts. It owed livestock farmers and other suppliers millions of shillings. The government-owned meat processor was operating below capacity and was grappling with an unreliable supply of livestock.

The Athi River-based plant was slaughtering 200 cattle per week, despite having the capacity to process the same number of animals per day.

Two months after the take-over, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i announced that KMC had cleared the bulk of debts it owed livestock farmers and other suppliers.

Just a couple of months after take-over by KDF, the loss-making firm had also increased the number of livestock supplied by nearly 30 percent and suppliers were motivated by faster payments. The farmers had received Sh250 million in debt repayment while other general suppliers received Sh150 million.

Dr Matiangi said that other management issues at KMC were being effectively addressed.

President Kenyatta formed the Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS) and appointed Maj Gen Mohamed Badi to head it in March.

At that time, the city had sunk in garbage, the roads and streets were in a mess and public transport was chaotic. Traffic snarl-ups were rampant in the capital city and water cost a fortune in the city slums.

Today, there is a commuter train service from the city centre to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in twenty minutes, the city roads are tarmacked and clean, there is no trace of garbage in the city centre and water is flowing in Mukuru and other slums of the city.

Earlier, on August 22, 2014, the President nominated Major General Philip Wachira Kameru as the Director General of the National Intelligence Service (NIS). Mr Kameru, who had been the Director of Kenya Defence Forces’ Military Intelligence was made the President’s chief adviser on national security.

At that time, the country was experiencing one of the highest levels of insecurity with terrorists having a field day and striking at will.

Today, Kenya is one of the most secure countries in the region.

Just around the same time, a former senior military official, Major-General Gordon Kihalangwa (rtd) was named the country's new Director of Immigration.

Mr Kihalangwa had left the military the previous year after attaining the mandatory retirement age. At that point, chaos reigned at Nyayo House’ Immigration as Kenyans spent days on end in search for a booklet of a passport that also carried with it thousands of shillings in bribes. Today, there’s a digital passport whose acquisition takes an average of two days!

All the above examples point to some level of efficiency and commitment to duty that seems to be in the DNA of our military.

So, when President Kenyatta “confesses his love affair with the military” and urges Kenyans to emulate their discipline and integrity, it is not so difficult to understand why and where he is coming from.

While inaugurating the national youth dialogue initiative at the Bomas of Kenya on Monday, the President said the military men and women had the requisite discipline needed to move the country forward.

He noted, quite justifiably, that the military had carried out all the assignments, including the rehabilitation of Kisumu port, restoring order in Nairobi City and rehabilitation of the old railway network.

So any time you see someone scoffing at an appointment of a military personnel to an otherwise “civilian” position, just ask them to tell you whether they would prefer civilian or efficient service.



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