The Kenyan army is one of the most professionalized on the Continent. When their counterparts across the region were going nuts with politics through most of the 60s, 70s and 80s they opted instead to stay in the barracks. The coup attempt of 1982 died before it began. Just to illustrate how disinterested they are in politics, many Kenyans, including yours truly, cannot name the top generals in the armed forces.
But I think they are taking their dormancy too far. Uganda illegally occupied the Kenyan island of Migingo a while back. Now they are trying to annex yet another Kenyan island.
Most recently the Daily Nation is reporting that a group of Ethiopian tribesmen who attacked and killed 20 Kenyans within Kenyan territory stopped Kenyan officials from visiting a Kenyan village on the Kenyan side of the border.
“Prime Minister Raila Odinga and five Cabinet ministers were barred from accessing a Kenyan village occupied forcibly by Ethiopian tribesmen for fear of being attacked.”
Where is the Kenyan army?
“The Kenyan army is one of the most professionalized on the Continent.”
I agree with the gist of your email but I think you are giving too narrow a definition of a professional military if your biggest example is lack of a coup. I’m not saying that’s not important. But I think it’d be better to focus on what they DO rather than what they did NOT DO. A military should, at the very least, be capable of defending the integrity of the country’s borders especially if the threats are coming from other military forces. Their actual experience in battle should also count. The performance of the Kenya military (as part of the UN mission) in Rwanda during the genocide reflected very poorly on them (to be fair, few countries in that UN contingent fared any better). Going by these, I’d not call the Kenyan military professional.
I don’t recall the Kenyan military going anywhere near Rwanda. However, they were in the Balkans at around the same time where their performance is not exactly a spectacular highlight. Going back to the original post, the Kenyan armed forces have lost the glory they had in the past. The days of describing the Kenyan military as ‘among the most professional in Africa’ are long gone. The corruption that afflicts the entire Kenyan society has not spared the military either. This has reduced their effectiveness and hence, all kinds of armed groups can infiltrate our borders and operate freely.
I agree with the person above. The most professionalized army on the Continent, I would suspect to be Egypt. Others might be South Africa (though I’ve never heard them active outside their own country), Nigeria is active in many countries including Ivory Coast. And Rwanda has big influence in DRC and its is/was leading the UN/AMID in Darfur (though there was something about being involved in 1990s war crimes). I feel like you have do something. Restraint will only take you so far. Its great that Kenya has largely keep out of Somalia military, unlike Ethiopia which continues to negate the territory boundaries.