UK signs amended army training pact with Kenya

British Army Training in Kenya
British Army Training in Kenya

Under a new agreement between the Kenyan and UK governments, the British military will be required to give Kenya a year’s notice before holding exercises in the country.

The agreement states that over the next five years Britain will pay Ksh132 million for the use of facilities at Laikipia Air Base, Nanyuki and Kahawa Garrison, Nairobi.

Infrastructure costs at Laikipia, will be Ksh7.2 million annually, while Kahawa Garrison will cost the UK Ksh19.2 million per year.

Additionally, nine months before the arrival of the soldiers, the British military must supply Kenya with details on number of personnel, number and type of weapons, ammunition, explosives, vehicles and other equipment to be used and the country would also have the power to refuse the entry of personnel or importation of military hardware provided it says so four months to the start of the exercise.

The number and nature of personnel coming would be verified four weeks prior to their arrival.

While in Kenya, the visiting forces would be required to wear uniform only when on official duty which seems to be an attempt at curbing reports of intimidation of locals by soldiers in uniform.

Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo has asked Parliament to ratify the deal for the first time in Kenya’s history.

The pact signed on December 9, last year focused on cooperation between Kenya and the UK on the development of security and defence policies, training of soldiers, military exercises and exchange visits.

“The agreement provides for joint training and exchange of experience and intelligence, thereby increasing the capacity of the Kenya Defence Forces to deliver its mandate.” – Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo

The deal will be scrutinised by the Defence and Foreign Relations Committee who can then ask the House to either ratify or reject it through a report to MPs.

British forces have trained in Nanyuki Town and Samburu County since Kenya gained independence. Previously the arrangement was based on memorandums of agreement which were renewed periodically, but the latest attempt to have it renewed caused a diplomatic strain when Kenya demanded better terms.