President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday presided over the commissioning parade for officer cadets at the Kenya Military Academy in Lanet, Nakuru.
The President, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the defence forces, arrived at the academy at 11am accompanied by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta.
During the event, cadets from the army, navy and the airforce were commissioned and promoted to second lieutenants and higher ranks after completing a training that began in November 2017.
The cadets commissioned on Thursday are the eighth group under the Bachelor of Science in Military and Security Studies programme offered by the Kenyatta University in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence. They will graduate in December 2020 at the university.
The best officer cadet in leadership and command award went to senior under officers Brian Mathini Ngure from the Kenya Army, who is also the winner of the Sword of Honor Award.
Cadet adjutant of the Kenya Navy Safia Diramu Diba was awarded the second best officer cadet in leadership and command and winner of the commandant trophy.
Others who received the awards from the include junior under officers Dennis Melita Nanyukoko, David Paul Gitonga, Bonface Wangila, Paul Olwal, Endrico Lopua Elimlim, Joekevin Muiga Rugara and Mika Mohammed Yona.
President Kenyatta, who was welcomed by the Kenya Military Academy Commandant Major General Peter Njiru, congratulated the graduates, exuding optimism that them that the skills they had acquired will sharpen their skills which are instrumental in protecting the people of Kenya and their property from external aggression and to ensure internal peace.
While expressing his pride in the cadets, the President commended the commandant and the trainers who dedicated themselves to training the cadets.
“I have no doubt that the commissioned cadets from Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, will be going back to their respective countries having acquired first-class training from one of the foremost military training institutions in Africa,” he said, adding that he was confident that the friendships established amongst the cadets will contribute to the strengthening of the national ties and collective responses to the security challenges that their respective nations continue to face.
He said Kenya’s and her allies’ defence forces must be prepared to respond effectively to diverse challenges, from both conventional and asymmetric spheres, adding that to effectively contain the security challenges of the 21st Century, training within the military must be better aligned with emerging threats across all domains, and the expanded demands placed on the shoulders of our Forces.
“Today is not the end of your learning and training. It is important to underscore that learning to acquire knowledge, and to sharpen your skills and competencies shall be a daily endeavor throughout the entire course of your career in uniform,” the President said told the cadets, urging them to serve the nation with courage, integrity and honor.
The President took some minutes to apologize to the families of the graduates for the restrictions occasioned by Covid-19, which prompted the government to restrict them from attending the occasion that lasted a record one hour.
The history of the Kenya Military Academy (KMA) dates back to 1941 when it was named Sgt Leakey Barracks, in honour of a member of the Kenya Regiment killed in action on 19th May 1941 in Abyssinia, now named Ethiopia.
By 1955, it was a Training Centre for the Kenya Regiment. The training of the Regular forces of the Kings African Rifles (KAR) in Eastern and Central Africa was done in Jinja, Uganda with the Courses Wing located at Lanet Barracks, Kenya.
In 1960, the training of regular forces in Uganda was terminated. The Courses Wing (East Africa) was moved to Lanet Barracks in 1962 and re-named East Africa Training Centre (EATC).
After Kenya’s independence, and owing to the expansion of the Kenya Armed Forces, there was need to indigenize military training. The first intake of locally trained Officers was commissioned at Lanet Barracks in October 1970 and the college was subsequently re-named the Armed Forces Training College (AFTC).
Initially, AFTC was mandated to train recruits, cadets and also offer staff and infantry courses. It was later transformed and renamed the Kenya Military Academy, after the decentralization of the training it offered, to other schools.
KMA trains Military cadets from other countries including Botswana, Burundi, Malawi, Swaziland, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.