Roles of the Military/KDF in Kenya: Are They Supposed to take part in Elections?

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What are the roles of the military? Are they supposed to be involved in elections?

The military in Kenya are responsible for guarding our country against external aggression. Unless they is approval from parliament,KDF are not supposed to be deployed internally.

According to the Kenyan constitution, here are the roles of the Kenya Defense Forces.

The KDF comprises of:

  1. 241. (1) There are established the Kenya Defence Forces.
    (2) The Defence Forces consist of— (a) the Kenya Army; (b) the Kenya Air Force; and (c) the Kenya Navy.

Kenya Army Formations

  •     Kenya Army Infantry
  •     Kenya Army Paratroopers
  •     Kenya Army Armour (includes 78 Tank Battalion, Isiolo)
  •     Kenya Army Artillery (includes 77 Artillery Battalion)
  •     Kenya Army Engineers
  •     50 Air Cavalry Battalion

Kenya Army Services

  •     Kenya Army Ordnance Corps
  •     Kenya Army Corps of Transport
  •     Kenya Army Electrical and Mechanical Engineering
  •     Kenya Army Corps of Signals
  •     Kenya Army Military Police Corps
  •     Kenya Army Education Corps
  •     Medical Battalion
  •     Armed Forces Constabularies
  1. 239. (5) The national security organs are subordinate to civilian authority.
  2. (3) The Council shall exercise supervisory control over national security organs and perform any other functions prescribed by national legislation.
  3. (2) The primary object of the national security organs and security system is to promote and guarantee national security in accordance with the principles mentioned in Article 238 (2).
  4. 241. (3) The Defence Forces— (a) are responsible for the defence and protection of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic; (b) shall assist and cooperate with other authorities in situations of emergency or disaster management.
  5. 241. (3) The Defence Forces— (c) may be deployed to restore peace in any part of Kenya affected by unrest or instability only with the approval of the National Assembly.
  6. (2) The national security of Kenya shall be promoted and guaranteed in accordance with the following principles–– (a) national security is subject to the authority of this Constitution and Parliament;
  7. (2) The national security of Kenya shall be promoted and guaranteed in accordance with the following principles–– (b) national security shall be pursued in compliance with the law and with the utmost respect for the rule of law, democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms;
  8. 238. (6) Parliament shall enact legislation to provide for the functions, organisation and administration of the national security organs.
  9. (3) In performing their functions and exercising their powers, the national security organs and every member of the national security organs shall not— (a) act in a partisan manner; (b) further any interest of a political party or cause; or (c) prejudice a political interest or political cause that is legitimate under this Constitution.
  10. 243. (c) in performing their functions and exercising their powers, national security organs shall respect the diverse culture of the communities within Kenya;

(4) The composition of the command of the Defence Forces shall reflect the regional and ethnic diversity of the people of Kenya.

  1. 131. (1) The President—(c) is the Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces;

From the above articles of the constitution it’s clear that unless parliament approves for deployment of KDF to tackle internal unrest and security issues, there are not allowed to take part. The articles also state that KDF should not take position in regards to political parties-they should be by partisan.