Kenya Defence Forces Chief General Samson Mwathethe and Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo have called on the military to be apolitical ahead of next year’s elections.
General Mwathethe who made a surprise Christmas eve visit at the KDF Camp in Kismayo in Somalia noted that the military should not get swayed by politics but stick to its mandate.
“Elections in Kenya is an event, Kenya will remain solid after the polls. As KDF, we should remain in the barracks. I know the challenges we will face in 2017, but let us do our mandate,” he said when he visited the Kenyan troops under the Africa Union Mission in Kismayo, Somalia on Saturday.
General Mwathethe however said military officials who will be near polling centres will be allowed to vote but urged them to ensure that peace is maintained.
He also urged politicians to be truthful and allow Kenyans to make their own choices.
On her part, Ms Omamo hailed the soldiers for their selflessness and bravery since the incursion into Somalia in 2011.
She said that President Uhuru Kenyatta and all Kenyans are grateful that the officers have sacrificed their lives to bring peace in the neighbouring country.
Ms Omamo said she had wished to visit the troops in Somalia but she was held up due to other duties.
“But thank God I am here for thanksgiving, asanteni asenteni sana (thank, thank very much) for your courage and strenuous sacrifice. We appreciate and value you greatly, you are exceptional. It is not easy to be in the KDF, to face the force that you have been facing. To fight for freedom and justice far away from home,” Ms Omamo said.
She noted that KDF soldiers reflect Kenyans’ courage, diversity, desire for inclusivity and a society governed by law.
“This is the message that you bring here, standing for those like us who cannot fight. This is how valuable you are to our country as agents of peace,” she said.
The CS assured Kenyans that they had an excellent force who continue to discharge their mandate to ensure that our borders are safe.
General Mwathethe urged the soldiers to be on alert at all times to avert any attacks on Kenyan soil.