Ruto’s first trooping of colour as Commander-in-Chief of KDF

Jamhuri Day

Ongoing preparations ahead of this year’s Jamhuri Day celebrations at Nyayo National Stadium yesterday.

Photo credit: Lucy Wanjiru | Nation Media Group

President William Ruto shall today preside over the first trooping of the colour ceremony for the 23 Mechanised Infantry Battalion (23 MIB) since becoming the Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces on August 30.

This is a significant transition for the Eight Infantry Brigade as the 23 MIB will now be enhanced with more support including mechanized capabilities like the use of Armoured Infantry fighting vehicles.

The 23 MIB is one of the units of the Eight Mechanised Infantry Battalion currently located in Karare, Marsabit County.

It was established in 2017 but became fully operational in 2018 and has continued to grow in personnel, skills and operational capacity including being deployed to represent KDF in the East African Community Command Post Exercise in Jinja, Uganda in 2019.

In March last year, its members were also deployed to Somalia under the Africa Transition Mission in Somalia (Atmis). Prior to 23 MIB, other units existed as Kenya Rifles, from 1KR to the last unit, 21 KR. The Kenya Rifles units include 1KR, 3KR, 5KR, 7KR, 9KR, 11KR previously based in Lanet but that was disbanded in 1964, 15 KR, 17KR, 19KR and 21 KR. Current MIBs are 23 MIB, 25 MIB and 27 MIB.

In the elaborate ceremony, President Ruto is expected to hand over the 23 MIB its regimental colours that symbolise the highest mark of honour for any unit and whose loss would amount to the disbandment of the unit. They are therefore well guarded. The event will also show whether President Ruto will be keen on donning military fatigues as his predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta did during past similar ceremonies.

Will he choose to wear the red tunic that the former President was fond of during such events or will he opt for the ceremonial Kenya Air Force or Kenya Navy uniforms that no other president has gone for in the past?

Whatever he goes for, will set the tone for his future military events as he kicks off multiple engagements with the military as their Commander-in-Chief.

The practice of “Trooping the Colours” originated from 17th century England whereby the Queen’s Colour, a symbol of sovereignty, would be showcased in an elaborate ceremony.

After independence, the presidential and regimental colours replaced those of the Queen.

The colours symbolise the spirit of the regiment for they bear the battle honours and badges granted to it in commemoration of gallant deeds performed by its troops.

After the trooping of colour ceremony the country will kick off the normal activities for the Jamhuri Day fete which will have a twist this year as the government introduces themed holidays.

Under the theme: “Connect, Innovate and Inspire”, the event will seek to promote technological innovations by Kenyans and connect them with gurus from Google, Twitter and Facebook amongst other leading global tech companies, whose representatives have been invited to the event.

“This celebration will be slightly different from what we have had previously in the sense that it’s a themed celebration with a focus on ICT and, going forward, we will be doing similar celebrations with themes starting with Madaraka Day and the other public holidays that we will be undertaking within the country,” Interior PS Raymond Omollo explained while briefing journalists on the final preparations for the event that will be marked in all the 47 counties.

The event was preceded by an innovation week expo at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre, where leading innovations are expected to be awarded scholarships.

Over 20,000 members of the public are expected to start streaming into Nyayo stadium at 6am for the event that is scheduled to end by 1pm.