KDF Bill will militarise State – activists

kenya defense forces
kenya defense forces

Activists have threatened to go to court over contentious clauses in the proposed Kenya Defense Forces Amendment Bill 2015.

The Coalition for Constitution Implementation (CCI) and the Global Campaign for Military Spending – Africa (GCOMS-Africa) called for the withdrawal of the Bill saying it is unconstitutional and an attempt to militarise the state ahead of the 2017 polls.

“The proposal of the Bill that bars members of the public and lawmakers from scrutinizing the budgetary allocations and military spending contravenes the Constitution,” he said.

“Article 201 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 (Principles of Public Finance) states that there shall be openness and accountability, including public participation in financial matters.”

The group also said the Bill contravenes Article 239 (5) that states that the national security organs are subordinate to the civilian authority.

“It is also worrying that the Bill proposes KDF to hold a separate account from that of the Ministry of Defense setting up pace for corruption and misuse of resources.”

They observed that, based on past records, military allocations have not translated to increased security and safety pointing to possibilities of massive graft in the sector.

Ethnic dominance

The lobby groups also pointed at the proposed abolishment of a clause requiring KDF to advertise slots per counties saying it is a contravention of the Article 241 (4) of the Constitution.

“Article 241 (4) of the Constitution states that the composition of the command of KDF shall reflect regional and ethnic diversity of the people of Kenya. The new Bill, however, makes it possible for KDF to be dominated by specific ethnic community.”

They also faulted the Bill for giving the force an escape on the heath of KDF recruits during training.

“The Bill is also likely to lead to misuse of KDF trainees as it proposes that the government should not be held to account as regarding compensation to families of KDF personnel who suffer disabilities or death while undergoing training.”

The Bill, now in its publication stage, seeks to make major changes to the exiting Kenya Defense Forces 2012 by giving the force more powers to manage its affairs.

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Story By Benjamin Wafula
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