Let me begin by recognizing the remarkable men and women who are with us here today: the Chief of the Kenya Defense Forces, our service commanders and other senior KDF officers, attachés, the commandant and staff of this academy; as well as our cadets, and their families. It is a pleasure to celebrate the occasion with you all.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
For the young men and women who stand before us, today’s ceremony marks the end of their training. We are proud to join them in the joy of their achievement, because we know just how rigorous that training has been.
Five years ago, it was resolute to add an undergraduate academic component to what was already a tough course. Only the most dedicated and patriotic of our people could excel under those conditions. These young men and women formed up have proved themselves equal to that challenge. It is my great pleasure, and I am sure it is yours too, to congratulate these cadets for their excellence, and to welcome them into the service of their country. I am very proud of you.
This year’s group of cadets is not solely Kenyan; brothers and sisters from Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi joined them. It is a pleasure to see the sons and daughters of our friends. Your presence here has strengthened the brotherhood of our nations. I trust you will return home to exercise the skills you have learned here, and I am confident that the friendships established here will endure.
As you go out to serve, let me remind you that your training, though rigorous, is no substitute for patience, experience and commitment. You join our Defense Forces at a defining time in our history: 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.
As we laud our defense and security forces for their continued efforts in keeping this country safe, especially in the face of the cowardly criminals who have killed innocent women and children in the cruelest ways imaginable, I urge all Kenyans to be alive to the fact that terrorism cannot be defeated by military might alone.
All Kenyans in every walk 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 defense force in achieving national goals.
I wish to thank the Kenya Defense 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 values of loyalty, discipline, professionalism and integrity. If these values are taken to heart all across Kenya, then terrorism, religious intolerance and extremism will be defeated.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I also wish to thank the families and friends of the Cadets commissioned today. Many of you have indirectly been through challenging moments for the last three years. But our support has been vital in getting these cadets here today and that support will remain just as essential in the times ahead as these young men and women embark on their careers, often in more difficult circumstances than they found themselves in this Academy.
It is appropriate to remind the cadets that you are most privileged to have been selected to serve in the Kenya Defense Forces. As you depart for your respective services and units I am proud of your achievements and new officer status. Remember, always, the words of scripture: to those whom much has been given, much will be required. Kenyans rightly and inevitably expect much of you.
But do not let that burden trouble you, for the tradition of the Kenya Defense Forces over the years is proof that these high expectations can be met. As the next generation of military leaders, you should always uphold our Defense Forces’ acute sense of service to the Nation.
I urge you to always abide by the tenets of the Officer’s Creed and to maintain a clear sense of direction that will enable you to lead by example and be a source of inspiration to your fellow officers. If you do, you will serve your nation well, and you will pass on to those who come after you the true character of the Kenya Defense Forces Officer.
You can be sure of my Government’s support if you maintain the high standards of your predecessors.
Thank you all and God bless you.