President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Speech During the Kenya Defence Forces Day Celebrations, Laikipia Airbase

Posted: October 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY HON. UHURU KENYATTA, C.G.H., PRESIDENT ANDCOMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE DEFENCE FORCES OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYADURING THE KENYA DEFENCE FORCES DAY CELEBRATIONS, LAIKIPIA AIRBASE, 14 TH OCTOBER, 2013

The Leadership and Members of the Disciplined Forces,Ladies and Gentlemen,Greetings on this, the day that our Lord has made.I am happy to be here today, and to join the Kenya Defence Forces family incommemorating the second KDF Day. This is a solemn occasion to reflect and remember.But for purposes of honouring our heroes, every day of our lives must be a KDF Day in ourhearts.

I want to state very clearly that I am proud to be your Commander-in-Chief. As I represent Kenya’s national unity, I can state without any doubt, that our people’s pride and confidence in our defense forces has never wavered. Without hesitation, the people of our Republic join you in honoring those among you whose lives were sacrificed in defense of this nation. We commemorate our fallen heroes in the knowledge that although they are departed, their spirit lives with us, in each one of us.

Wherever we are,our service must therefore maintain a standard that does justice to their memory and honors their spirit.To do this, we must dedicate ourselves more completely and devote our work to maintaining the integrity of our society. We must apply ourselves to the realization of our common values. Sanctity of life, rights and dignity of all people, cohesion and solidarity of our communities and the assurance of stability are components of this integrity.

Peace and Unity, therefore are the cardinal objectives we have to secure to sustain Freedom. That is the meaning of independence, and the value of sovereignty.Sovereignty represents the opportunity for our State to secure a better life for everyone within our borders.I speak of these things because you are our Defense Forces, and also because you continue to be the role model universally admired by Kenyans. The calibre of your service, therefore sets the example by which our people evaluate excellence in all fields of human endeavor.

Yet in all these things, we have never forgotten that first and foremost, you are soldiers under sacred mandate to defend our country with all your hearts and with your lives. None of us forgets, even for a moment, that every time you are called upon to serve, the cup of ultimate sacrifice is never far from your lips.

Because words can, and often fail the best communicators, we must call your vocation a Noble Profession, although, in actual fact, that is an understatement.You have proven to the world, time and again, what fine peace-keepers you are. Lately,however, you have shown the world what gallant warriors you are. If anyone thought that the KDF is too nice to fight, they are welcome to quickly revise their mistaken opinion, if they already haven’t.

You are not a ragtag militia, which in truth is nothing more than a gang of thugs and looters. You are a disciplined and highly professional service that engages robustly, but with utmost respect for human life and human rights.We will do everything we must to make Kenya peaceful, and we will take peace and security to our neighbors if our peace and security is threatened. After all, you are Officers and Gentlemen; sharing is caring. We care for our neighbors.

In short, you have amply made the point, and I think it is a worthwhile point, that it is possible to be niceguys and tough guys at the same time. And I congratulate you. Hongera.Ladies and Gentlemen,We all know from experience that the price of defending our values: unity, democracy,diversity and dynamism can be brutally exorbitant. It is difficult to imagine the state of the mind and soul which harbours nothing but resentment for these values; it is probablyone of the things that we, being who we are, will never understand all our lives. But weknow without the tiniest shadow of doubt that there are in this world those who want topunish us for embracing goodness and renouncing evil. Their stated intention is todestroy us and our values. Absurdly enough, hatred as a way of life, and a deadly commitment to murder and destruction not only happen, but have their evil eye fixedupon us.

In the modern world, terror and aggression use the same media that Commerce and Knowledge employ to expand and thrive. Globalization and technology promise the purveyors of death and destruction an even greater promise of success. Because terror is the most insidious form of propaganda, the super-high-tech media we use today is often employed to confuse and terrify. In the history of humankind, defending nations and protecting societies has never been harder than it is today. The terrorist targets unarmed civilians right at the heart of everyday life. The suicide bomber offers no opportunity to engage and possibly defeat. They tweet and mock, using media as one further weapon to horrify.

Modern sabotage has worms and viruses in addition to bombs. The enemy hates others and themselves so passionately and completely that they are committed to die for the opportunity to harm.To defend our society, therefore, requires the most dedicated professionals, nimble of mind, noble of heart and invincible in spirit. It demands a set of skills and values that represent our highest aspiration as human beings: courage, selflessness, readiness and proficiency. For us to have a chance at taking the enemy down, each officer in our disciplined forces must be a formidable module of skills and values, and the forces must be the most complete aggregation of all such officers.

You see, we are always greater than the sum of our parts. As a nation, we must have the assurance that our machine is efficient and superior to our enemies, whoever they be.Do we have the right to expect this of any institution? The constitution says we do.Existential imperatives as a nation state that we do. The smiling faces of happy, innocent children, the love of family and community, the life of every individual citizen imperiously suggests that we do. Our desire for stability and prosperity, our very way of life avers that we do. Do we, as a society, deserve to have this expectation realized?

All things considered, yes we do. Is this expectation feasible and sustainable? The answer to this can get complicated at the best of times. But since I stand before one consistent exponent of our country’s vital expectations, I have no doubt that it is.I am here witnessing with, and for all the people of Kenya that it is possible to be a highly skilled and disciplined, professional of integrity. Not just one person out of a million; this country can raise thousands of the finest people to accomplish whatever we desire. That is why I am confident that however subtly the enemy hides himself, however thoroughly he mutates, we will get him. You are the assurance we need to confidently say this.As I have told you before, our defense forces continue to represent our national values inaction. As national role models, you have demonstrated that the integrity of institutions is, in effect, the integrity of individuals in them.

 Similarly, the integrity of our nation comprises the integrity of each citizen. Without dedication and discipline, we cannot achieve much of what we desire.Just like terrorism and other forms of aggression, inefficiency and incompetence are massive threats to our integrity as a society. As a nation, we must embrace integrity and fight corruption with the resolve required to combat terrorists.

I call on every Kenyan to emulate the discipline and professionalism of our Defense Forces and wage total war on mediocrity and its practitioners. Similarly, I call upon the Kenya Defense Forces to raise the standard of their professionalism and intensify their role as a national example. I make this call because we must totally neutralize all threats. Supplying a good example should be the easiest, and most joyful of assignments for KDF.Like our nation, KDF is diverse. It is the face of Kenya. There is no doubt that we can defend our country without sacrificing our national character.

We must remain diverse,tolerant, welcoming and compassionate without compromising our security. It works both ways. Whatever we do, our destiny must never come to choosing between freedom and security. We can have both. Therefore, we will have both.Therefore we must not tolerate anyone who seeks to divide us on the basis of ethnicity,religion, gender or fear. It is important to recognize that no single community on earth is inherently evil, and avoid the injustice condemning entire groups for the acts of misguided individuals.

 At no time should we ever confuse fighting evil with the persecution of groups. That is not who we are. And that is why I am encouraged by our people’s solidarity even in the face of blatant and brutal attempts to divide us.These are the things we must do to protect our nation, and secure prosperity. They also are the things we have to do to demonstrate our devotion to the memory of our departed heroes.

 It is good for us to honor your fallen comrades this way. It comforts a great deal to know that none of them will ever be forgotten. I express my own, and extend our nation’s deep sorrow at the loss of patriotic Kenyans. May God grant their souls peace in eternal life. As the Bible says, blessed are the peace makers, for they shall be called the sons of God. We will never stop honoring their memory, and will continue living up to the values they died protecting.

Ladies and Gentlemen,Let me conclude by emphasizing one point. Security and stability are critical components that we must maintain in order to meet our goals of a prospering middle-income country by the year 2030, or if you are in a hurry as I am, earlier than that. We must and will do everything to ensure our security is maintained and our country is safe for all of us who live in it. Let me make it clear that security is a shared responsibility of all Kenyans.Everyone has a role to play.I wish all of you a happy and eventful KDF Day.Thank you and God Bless you.

Courtesy of Statehouse Nairobi.

                                      Follow me on twitter @IamOminde 

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