Within the first year of its existence, the National Defence University-Kenya (NDU-K) based in Lanet, Nakuru City has attracted a dozen cadets from five countries in Africa.
The 12 cadets from Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Mozambique are among the inaugural 177 cadets, including 25 women at the Lanet-based military campus.
Mozambique leads the pack with five cadets, Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda have two cadets each while Rwanda has one cadet.
The cadets are undertaking a three–year foundational military training as junior military leaders which will see them earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Defence and Security.
“The programme is aimed at preparing Cadets for leadership in the 21st-century defence and security environment whose hallmark is creative, critical, independent and innovative thinking to address contemporary security issues," said Vice-Chancellor Lieutenant–General Jonah Mwangi.
“Having been oriented to the profession of arms for nine months, the Cadets are now transiting into the academic phase which will seamlessly intersperse with advance military training to produce scholarly warriors able to analyse threat dynamics and offer appropriate solutions.There is a need for higher education that meets demands of an increasingly complex security environment to address the issues about present days and future threats.”
He announced that the university will invest in research as an avenue for spearheading pragmatic solutions in security in support of national development.
Lt-Gen Mwangi told the cadets that their success, both as potential military leaders and practitioners in security, is dependent on their commitment and discipline.
“I urge you to embrace a culture where discipline is not an instrument to cause obedience but also as a tool to shape character as the pathway to scaling the heights despite challenges which are inevitable in this industry," said the VC.
He was speaking at the university on Friday during a colourful matriculation ceremony attended by top brass Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) officers drawn from seven NDU-K colleges.
The Commandant Kenya Military Academy Major-General Fatuma Ahmed advised the cadets to aim for the highest success in their academic and past academic journey in their military careers.
"Any act of negligence in this career can be disastrous. Remember you are being trained for mission readiness in dealing with all forms of external aggression against your country's sovereignty and undertaking national duties when called upon," said Major-General Ahmed.
"Always remember the words of the Chief of the Defence Forces General Robert Kibochi: 'You're the arrowhead we're sharpening to achieve the KDF mandate."
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic Affairs and Research Prof Ann Muigai told the cadets not to forget the journey they have undertaken to get to the University.
“I encourage you to rise to your highest potential and work hard so that you can attain the NDU-K certificate," said Prof Muigai.
University Registrar Dr Stephen Nzioki Mailu said the ceremony ushered the cadets into the academic world that requires hard work, sacrifice, dedication and proper time management.
Commandant Officer Cadets School Colonel E. Mbithi urged the cadets to observe the university rules and regulations and conduct themselves with dignity, honesty, and civility.
University chaplain lieutenant- Colonel ( Father) Moses Karanja told the cadets that education is a "vehicle that will prepare them for a future they cannot grasp."
The cadets commenced their training programme on March 28 and are currently in their third semester focusing on academic and professional studies.