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Ruto turns to military for development projects

By Mercy Simiyu September 19th, 2023 2 min read

President William Ruto’s move to enlist military personnel for crucial development roles has ignited debate, considering he led his allies in hitting out at his predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta over a similar approach.

In the first event. President Ruto deployed the military to aid in refurbishing the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) ahead of the Africa Climate Summit held in Nairobi in September 2023.

And on September 19, 2023, the government enlisted the military to refurbish both the Nyayo Stadium and Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, as part of the country’s preparedness to host the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

Kenya, which plans to co-host the continental sporting showpiece in a bid dubbed East Africa pamoja, is competing for the hosting rights of this tournament alongside Senegal, Algeria, Botswana, and Nigeria.

While there is nothing wrong with deploying the military to work on development projects, it is the supposed double standings that have raised eyebrows.

The former president deployed the military to run the cash-strapped Kenya Meat Commision (KMC) in September 2020, in a move he said was to aid its ‘operation and survival’.

The president ordered the military to run the cash-strapped KMC in September 2020, to boost its operation and survival.

At the time of restructuring, KMC had a debt of Sh1.1 billion.

This included livestock farmers’ dues of Sh254.4 million and outstanding payroll deductions totalling Sh144 million.

Other public entities run by the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) at the time included the Uhuru Gardens Monument compound and some functions of Nairobi County under the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) headed by Major General Mohammed Badi.

At the time, President Ruto’s allies led by Kipchumba Murkomen, now Transport Cabinet Secretary, hit out at the former Head of State, suggesting he was militarising the country.

“The shock is that active military personnel, who are typically stationed in barracks and at Kenya’s borders, are now overseeing civilian governments,” Murkomen reiterated.

This forced then Chief of Defence Forces General Robert Kiboochi to defend the appointments.

But then, now, the process has gone full cycle.

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