On Sunday, September 6, Kenya’s Chief of the Defence Forces (CDF) General Robert Kibochi gave a detailed interview on how the military is employing technology to protect and serve the nation.
He started by acknowledging that innovation was key for the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) to remain relevant in the dynamic technological sphere.
“The KDF is alive to the fact that innovation is a critical component in increasing combat power,” he stated.
He then explained that the Defence Forces Technical College (DEFTEC), that was established in 1964, is tasked with the responsibility of training all technicians in the KDF.
He revealed that he was once a lecturer at DEFTEC at some point in his career. The technical institution is responsible for developing technology personnel across the entire spectrum namely; aeronautical engineering, information technology and marine engineering.
Gen Robert Kibochi spoke about KDF’s innovations, best military practices within society and use of technology to enhance patriotism.
Kenya’s military was ranked as the 12th most powerful military in Africa according to the annual Global Fire Power report for 2020 released on June 16. Globally, KDF was ranked 84 out of the 138 modern militaries ranked according to their capabilities.
The nation’s defenders are equipped with a stockpile of state-of-the-art battle tanks, armoured fighting vehicles, self-propelled guns, towed artillery, aircraft, drones, fighter jets, and military-grade helicopters among others.
Details of their capabilities are marked classified for national security reasons.
Besides the adoption of technology to ensure soldiers were well-equipped, Kibochi revealed that the army was also using home-made technology to serve the nation locally.
The ongoing winning hearts and mind agenda for the KDF has seen them deployed in some of the arid and semi-arid regions within Kenya.
He revealed that the troops have been leveraging their technology to aid the communities in these areas.
So far they have built schools and other infrastructure. They have also been able to use some of their geo-mapping equipment to identify spots with underground water which they have then drilled to the benefit of locals.
He further revealed that KDF has employed this strategy in Somalia to gain the backing of locals as they battle to eradicate the outlawed al-Shabaab militia group.
In addition, the military has purposed to use their social media to enhance patriotism.
General Kibochi castigated individuals sharing images of injured soldiers online, “I don’t understand this. It affects the morale of those who are out there engaging in crucial missions,” he remarked.
He enlisted into the Kenya Defence Forces on May 18, 1979, and underwent Officer Cadets Training until March 30, 1980, and commissioned in the rank of Second Lieutenant and posted to Signals Battalion.
He has held various command and staff appointments including his immediate former appointment as Commander of the Kenya Army, Assistant Chief of Defence Forces in charge of Operations, Plans, Doctrine and Training at Defence Headquarters (DHQ), Chief of Strategic Plans and Policy, Director International Peace Support Training Centre, Col Operations Requirements (CIS) and Commander Corps of Signals.
Gen Kibochi was born in Nakuru on August 15, 1959. He is married to Tabitha Kibochi and together they are blessed with four daughters.