Khamiis, Juun 25, 2015 (Daljir)_ Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed shocked a parliamentary committee after she disclosed that British soldiers conducting their training in Kenya do not allow local officials to inspect their equipment and facilities.
Amina told the Senate Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations that although the relationship between Kenya and her former colonial master was skewed in favour of the latter, the Jubilee administration had worked to ensure the two countries relate as equals.
But it was her disclosure that not even the President can access the facilities manned by the soldiers, under British Army Training Unit, that shocked the committee members, who said this could compromise the country\’s security. \”We cannot continue like that.
Even as we talk they have facilities in the country, that no one, not even the President or the Chief of the Defence Forces can access. That should not be happening 50 years after our independence,\” stated the Cabinet Secretary.
\”How can it be that they can bring in anything and not allow it to be subjected to any inspection?\” she posed. The CS said this was the practice under the past regimes, but added it is set to change now that the relations between Kenya and the United Kingdom were even.
She recounted a recent incidence where the UK soldiers shipped in many containers at the Mombasa port, but had to return them after the military officers declined to have them inspected by local officials. \”They had resisted the inspection, but when we stood our ground and insisted on inspecting them, they opted to take them back.
The question we are also asking ourselves is what is this they were bringing in and did not want our authorities to know?\” she said. The CS said the training agreement was such that it favoured the foreign military and that Kenya was still meeting 80 per cent of the costs of having its soldiers trained in Britain under the programme.
\”It does not do us any favour to always bend backwards to a point of almost breaking,\” she said, disclosing that the programme had been extended to October after an initial memorandum of understanding expired.
Amina said under the new terms, any UK soldiers in the programme who engages in any criminal activities locally stands trial in Kenya unlike in the past where the soldiers would be repatriated to Britain to face justice there.
President Uhuru Kenyatta had previously threatened to end the military co-operation with the UK.
Source : SD