On November 16, 2018 In Statements and Speeches

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, I begin, as is right and fitting, with remembrance of all those who have recently lost their lives in defence of this country.  These men and women from every branch of our disciplined services gave everything they had for the country they loved.  Nothing we say today can atone for the loss; nothing we say today can do them any greater honour than their patriotism. But honour them we must.  And so we are called to fulfill four duties: we are called to remember them; we are called to comfort the loved ones they have left behind; we are called to defend the principles and the way of life for which they died; and we are called, finally, to win the war they so gallantly fought.   Ladies and Gentlemen, We are free to choose our leaders, according to our own best judgment.  Our girls go to school because we believe that every child deserves an education. We believe in God, and we believe that each man should be free to worship Him as he believes best.   The enemy sees each of these freedoms, and longs only to destroy them.  Freedom of worship shows strength, not weakness.  And we know that a country whose people are free to choose their leaders is stronger than a country in which bloody and violent extremists impose their will.  Our freedoms make us better than the enemy.  Our freedoms make us stronger than the enemy.  That is why we know we will win. And, with our allies, we have victories to show.  We have degraded the capacity of Al-Shabaab to carry out attacks in Kenya and elsewhere; and our collective efforts have led to the establishment of successive civilian governments in Somalia.   Ladies and Gentlemen, Those are the stakes: freedom and prosperity, against the poverty and slavery our enemy wants for us.  In this war,we must call upon the noblest and bravest among us. For today’s graduands, that means you.  You have been prepared rigorously for this fight, and I join your families in celebrating the joy of your success and achievement.  But this is a beginning, not an end.   We have entrusted you the duty of defending our sovereignty and our freedom; you are our shield and defender.  There are few higher duties, which is why we will ask a great deal of you.  We will require continuous training to ensure effective and efficient performance. We will also require of you complete integrity, flawless discipline, and implicit loyalty to your superiors, to those who serve with you, and to the authorities established by law. Kenya expects these things of you not just because of the importance of your mission, but also because of the reputation and importance of the institution that you formally join today.  This Force has a long tradition of upholding the very highest standards. The standard of the parade and turnout today was commendable; it is what we have come to expect from the Kenya Defence Forces.  In years past, you have done your part to keep the peace abroad, serving in United Nations’ peace missions, and under the AU too.  That you have been chosen to serve these missions shows the regard in which you are held,and proves the standard of your training and professionalism.  At home, you are an example of our nationhood. The men and women who serve are drawn from every corner of the Republic, and from every religion; they are united in patriotism and professionalism.  Out of many, we are one. As your President, and your Commander-in-Chief, it falls to me to protect and defend that unity.  We have recently seen an escalation of violence in parts of the North Rift: communities have been divided; property has been destroyed and stolen; Kenyans have lost their lives.  But we are restoring order. The Kenya Defence Forces are helping the Police restore law and order there.  I want to be perfectly clear: these perpetrators of violence and lawlessness in the North Rift, Laikipia and elsewhere will be dealt with.  There is no room here for those who want to divide us; there is no room in Kenya for those who want to snatch away the property others have laboured to build; and there is absolutely no room here for those who would raise their hands against their brothers and countrymen. The leaders of the incitement and violence will learn their lesson. Ladies and Gentlemen, Let me close with thanks.  I am grateful to the Chief of Defence Forces, and all his staff, for their diligence and leadership in this war.  I commend the Commandant of this school, and his officers and instructors, for turning our young men and women into warriors, ready to defend the nation that they love.  And I thank the parents and guardians of our graduands, who have given us such fine young men and women. But most of all, I thank the young men and women before us today; our sons and daughters who have answered the call to defend the country. Thank you.  As a father myself, and as your Commander-in-Chief, all I ask is that you honour what you were taught here, and that you go forth and serve this nation, just as it has served you. God bless you. God bless your service. God bless Kenya.

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