Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for that wonderful welcome. It is always a pleasure to return to Nakuru, and to Lanet. I say so because I see the energy and determination of our young cadets, ready to serve their country, and the pride of their parents, who join us in celebration today. If we have young Kenyans ready to serve, and parents who have taught them patriotism, then we may be optimistic about Kenya’s future. That, then, is one reason to celebrate today’s commissioning with pleasure.
Another is that seven years ago, the Cadet training programme of this institution was reformed, to add an undergraduate academic component to the professional and character training of old. Today, then, we welcome into the KDF officer cadre the fourth group of Commissioning Cadets who have completed their three-year long training. It is a pleasure to congratulate the commissioning cadets on successfully completing a rigorous and challenging course of training.
The people of Kenya — whom you have now been trained to protect with the skills and professional knowledge that you have acquired — are proud of you, as are your parents.
I note with satisfaction the good number of Cadets seconded from countries with which Kenya has warm relations. I do not doubt that our brothers and sisters from Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi return home having in possession of excellent training that will build their respective militaries.
Nor do I doubt that the friendships established here will mature in the unity of our continent.
In all, then, I join your parents and instructors in their pride in you. I am proud of you for choosing to serve Kenya; I am proud of you for proving that you have the toughness and talent to come through this training.
But now, going forward, it is your will and commitment that will be crucial in exercising your leadership responsibilities, so that you can build your career and rise as far through the ranks as your service and talent will take you.
I say so because you join our Defence Forces during a defining time in our history, when we not only need constant and deliberate efforts to modernize the training of our security forces, but to keep the training relevant to the evolving security environment.
Our Nation is today faced with security challenges posed by terrorists and extremist groups whose fighting capabilities are being curtailed by our Forces in different arenas including Somalia. I want to be perfectly clear: we will win because we have right and might on our side.
We also have unity. Like the cowards that they truly are, these terrorists have sought most unsuccessfully to create division, hatred and fear among Kenyans.
They have utterly failed: Kenya today is more firmly united in the fight against terror than at any time in all our history. And our Defence Forces remain steadfast in their mission to bring lasting peace and development in the region with unwavering zeal and determination.
As we laud our Defence and Security forces for their continued efforts in keeping this country safe, I urge all Kenyans to be alive to the fact that terrorism cannot be defeated by military might alone.
All Kenyans of all walks of life must work together to destroy the effectiveness of the plans of the terrorists by strengthening our national unity and retaining the values of tolerance and hope.
The prosperity of a nation depends on how the crucial factors of peace, security, governance and sound economic development policies are brought to act on each other for the advancement of the society.
I believe the training that the cadets have been taken through has enabled them to appreciate the relationship between these factors and most importantly, the role of a professional Defence Force in achieving national goals.
I wish to thank the Kenya Defence Forces for not only living up to its expectations, but also ensuring that Kenyans of different ethnic and religious backgrounds work together in harmony as patriots guided by the values of loyalty, discipline, professionalism, integrity and a high sense of identity.
These values need to permeate all sectors of our society in adequate measures to enable us vanquish the evils of terrorism, extremism and religious as well as political intolerance.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I also wish to thank the families and friends of the Cadets Commissioning today. Many of you have also, even though indirectly, been through the trials and tribulations of the last three years alongside the officers on parade.
Without your support, they would not be here today. I know that you are very proud today of cadets being commissioned. Continue, then, to stand with them, to guide them, and to care for them; your care of these young men and women remains as vital for the future as it has been in the past.
Let me close by reminding the cadets what a privilege it is to be selected to serve in the Kenya Defence Forces. From those to whom much is given, much will be required. Here, in this institution, you have been given a great deal.
As your Commander-in-Chief, I can tell you now that we will require valour in war, magnanimity in peace, and patriotism in all things. That is the tradition of the force whose officers you now are.
Uphold that tradition, and you will be a true officer of the KDF; and you will have repaid your debt to that nation that has given you so much.
Thank you all.