Dr. Monica Juma is Kenya’s cabinet secretary for defence.
She delivered this message to Kenyan troops serving in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on October 14, 2020, in commemoration of Kenya Defence Forces Day. Her remarks have been edited to fit this format.
I take this opportunity to salute our Soldiers who are deployed in various forward operating bases in Somalia on this auspicious day when we commemorate Kenya Defence Forces Day.
The 14th of October is set aside in the Ministry of Defence to remember the ultimate sacrifice that your colleagues have paid in search for peace in our neighboring country, Somalia.
As your cabinet secretary, I am deeply grateful for the privilege to provide strategic guidance, work, and be associated with patriotic, brave men and women who guarantee our nation’s safety and security, who have answered to a higher calling to defend the territorial integrity and sovereignty of our motherland and to protect the freedoms of Kenyans.
Since the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) entered the Somalia theater, al-Shabaab activities have been significantly reduced, and although this terrorist group remains a threat, its ability to operate has been greatly degraded.
Your contribution to AMISOM remains a game-changer and for this, I salute each and every one of you today. As we recall our journey, I urge each one of you: Do not drop your guard.
Our success each day is key to defeating al-Shabaab and restoring peace and stability to our neighborhood. A secure and safe Somalia, able to provide security in its territory and secure its borders with its neighbors, translates to a peaceful East Africa and continent.
Your ability to operate in a difficult environment, away from your families, is the testimony of your unwavering love for your country and our nation’s duty of care for regional and global peace and stability.
Your professional performance continues to make Kenya a respected country among the community of nations.
The theme of this year’s KDF Day is “Humanitarian Civil Assistance,” and in this regard, I wish to commend you for the support you continue to offer to the Somali communities in your areas of operation.
We must continue to promote the well-being of the people amongst whom we live — offer them medical support, water, training, construction of learning facilities and equipping them.
This is because we exist to improve the well-being of the people and to create an enabling environment for productive activities.
As you continue to keep us safe at home, I urge you to continue watching over each other, in the operational areas, every minute of the day. Nothing could have made any Kenyan prouder than a picture circulating during Ramadan of KDF Soldiers standing guard to watch over their brothers pray, because we believe in the freedom and sanctity of religion and worship and stand ready to defend it.
Your families at home have made an equally big sacrifice in offering you to serve our motherland, Kenya. And to them I say thank you very much; you are part of our effort to deliver on peace.
The Ministry of Defence stands steadfast and will continue to support our operations. We have your backs, so go forth, you gallant sons and daughters of Kenya, to defend and protect the Republic of Kenya and all its citizens.
We shall not tire to support you, providing you with the requisite provisions that will make your work easier and efficient.
Once again, thank you for your selfless service to our motherland. As the commander in chief always underscores, our nation remains ever grateful for your loyal service.
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