President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday awarded a charter to the National Defence College, making the military institution the first specialist university in the country under the Universities Act of 2012.
The new National Defence University-Kenya (NDU-K) will offer graduate and post-graduate training to local and foreign, military and civilian leaders on current and emerging security challenges.
Speaking during the award ceremony at the institution in Karen, Nairobi County, the President said NDU-K will fortify the country’s defence forces and improve their skills in military and civil diplomacy.
Besides training military leaders, the President said NDU-K will lay the foundation for the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) to contribute more to internal civil needs such as humanitarian response.
“As you know, our country has suffered a lot from terrorist attacks in the past few years; not to mention the threats posed by transnational organised crimes and intra-state conflicts.
“Physical attacks are not our only threats; there are virtual threats to our security as well such as cyber-warfare and hostile takeover of state electronic systems,” the President said.
The Head of State assured of the Government’s commitment to supporting NDU-K meet its training, research and service goals.
At the same venue, the President presided over the graduation ceremony of 55 senior military officers and civil servants from Burundi, Malawi, Nepal, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Kenya, and delivered a public lecture in his capacity as the Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces.
In the lecture titled, “Developing Africa’s Maritime Security Architecture: Opportunities for Security and Prosperity”, the President said Africa must invest more in maritime transport for it to benefit from its vast natural resources.
Noting that maritime transport is the most affordable mode of transporting bulk cargo, the President said over 90 percent of world trade is powered water transport.
“…coastal shipping provides important mass transit services for cargo and commuters, helping to decongest highways and attendant risks. This not only enhances competitiveness of export goods but also lowers the cost of imports,” the President said.
The President said the ongoing expansion of Mombasa Port, the recent launch of the new Lamu Port and the ongoing revival of Kisumu Port was informed by the growing importance of maritime transport to Kenya’s economy.
Alongside investments in new and bigger ports, the President rallied African countries to also focus on tackling marine pollution, sustainable coastal tourism and maritime security so as to benefit more from the continent’s vast blue economy resources.
“Safe and secure seas, governed by fair and transparent regulations, are a fundamental requirement to guarantee the protection of Africa’s maritime interests, assets and infrastructure,” the President said.
The President, who was accompanied by Head of Public Service Dr Joseph Kinyua, Cabinet Secretaries Monica Juma (Defence), George Magoha (Education) and Fred Matiang’i (Interior), and Attorney General Kihara Kariuki, was received at the college by Chief of Defence Forces General Robert Kibochi.