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Kenya Army - Modernization

Kenyas support for Israelis in the 1976 Entebe raid in Uganda enraged Idi Amin. Tension increased between Kenya and Uganda in the same year when President Amin claimed large chunk of Kenyan land. Uganda posed a security challenge to Kenya and an inter-state war seemed imminent. Kenyas security agencies were put on high alert as Amin remained unpredictable. President Kenyatta addressed a rally at Uhuru Park, and said in relation to Ugandas threat that We Kenyans shall defend our country with all our blood and shall teach a lesson never to be forgotten to anyone who tries to play with our country and government. Tension between the two countries remained high throughout that decade. Even though Uganda did not fight with Kenya, the actions of Amin made Kenya believe that war with Uganda remained a possibility. In reaction, the Air Force was enhanced with more modern F5 jet fighters and the Kenya Army was increased in numerical strength.

In the 1970s the army became a well-equipped modern force. Whereas in the mid-1970s it had no tanks and only 13 armored cars, in 1982 it was taking delivery of the last of 72 Vickers Mk3 main battle tanks from Britain. The tanks were supplemented by some 60 armored cars, most of which were equipped with 60mm and 90mm guns. For the most part, these operated in the armored reconnaissance companies. The army's artillery was also significantly expanded from a handful of light mortars and recoilless launchers to include 50 or more 105mm guns, as well as modern antitank guided missiles. The army was still basically an infantry force, but its mobility had been significantly improved by the addition of more than 50 armored personnel carriers.

As of 2006, the army had 78 main battle tanks, 92 reconnaissance vehicles, 62 armored personnel carriers, 48 pieces of towed artillery, 62 mortars, 54 antitank guided weapons, 80 recoilless launchers, and 94 air defense guns.

By 2008, Kenya's weapons modernization program had been planned and budgeted for several years, and the small arms sale is one of many taking place. Other sales include major systems, such as helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles and artillery systems from multiple companies in multiple nations, including South Africa and China.

By 2008 the Kenyans were investigating the possibility, through the US Security Assistance Office, of obtaining a license agreement with the manufacturer to produce spare parts for and possibly manufacture new weapons at their ordnance factory. If this came to fruition, the neighboring countries would offer a market for US-manufactured small arms as well. If neighboring countries also adopted this weapon system and responsibly dispose of their excess (7.62mm) weaponry, the availability and market for the ubiquitous AK-47 variant 7.62mm weapons could drop dramatically. Also, the purchase of U.S. military technology guarantees U.S. influence over future arms sales. The implications for the reduction of illegal small arms proliferation and trafficking in Northeast Africa are significant.

By 2000 the Kenyan government was considering 5.56 mm. assault rifles from two foreign arms manufacturers for issue to the Kenyan army. By 2008 the Kenyan military was planning to modernize its military -- in particular, its small arms stocks -- by replacing the (nearly obsolete) German-made 7.62mm G3 rifle, which is standard issue for military personnel. The Government had begun re-tooling its ammunition factory to manufacture smaller, lighter 5.56mm ammunition to accommodate the phase-in of new weapons, and it was in discussions with several countries, including China, to find a suitable vendor. By 2013 Chinese 7.62mm type 56-2 rifles were in use by the Kenyan Army.

The desire on the part of the Kenyans to increase the interoperability between Kenyan and US military forces and the persistent effort by the Security Assistance Office in Kenya to engage the Kenyan military led to an agreement by the Kenya Ministry of Defence (KMOD) to modernize with U.S.-manufactured equipment, particularly M-16A4 and M-4 carbine rifles in lieu of procuring similar weapons from China, specifically the Chinese export 5.56mm caliber carbine, the QBZ95/97. To this end, the Kenyan Government submitted a Letter of Request for 10,000 M-16A4/M-4 carbine rifles and 150 MK-19 grenade launchers.

The proliferation of small arms is a definite problem in the region, and Kenya is no exception. There is a vigorous black market for AK-47s reportedly coming from Uganda, Southern Sudan, South Ethiopia, and Somalia. Traditionally, illegal arms have been used by pastoralists to protect their herds from cattle raiders. Since the 2007 post-election crisis, there were reports of a surge in the illegal small arms trade for militias and internally displaced persons.

There were no reports, however, that small arms from the Kenyan military had found their way to the black market, and the military successfully resisted attempts during the post-election crisis to divert their weapons stocks to militias. The Kenyan Army provides excellent security at facilities where weapons are stored, and their 100 percent weapons accountability policy includes field checks during operational maneuvers. Kenya is an active member of The Regional Center for Small Arms (RECSA), which is headquartered in Nairobi and was formed to prevent, combat and eradicate stockpiling and illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons in the Great Lakes Region and Horn of Africa.

The black market for weapons in Africa centers on 7.62x39mm weapons like the AK-47, because they (and ammunition for them) are available in abundance. The Kenyan military's use of the G3 rifle (which uses 7.62x51mm NATO ammunition) is a poor sell on the black market, as the only ammunition available for it is manufactured in a government-run ammunition factory in Eldoret (where ammunition does not have a history of being "leaked.")

Since 2007, Kenya's Ministry of Defense played a major role in assisting the Government of South Sudan receive arms shipments from the Government of Ukraine. When the shipments were off-loaded at the port of Mombasa, they were transported via rail to Uganda and then onward to Southern Sudan.

In mid-February 2008, the Government of Kenya was reported as "seizing" a shipment of tanks bound for the Sudan People's Liberation Army as it violated the 2003 Comprehensive Peace Agreement to end Sudan's civil war. The "seizure" occurred when Kenya's own security situation was still precarious given the post-election crisis. The tanks were ultimately released and proceeded to Sudan.

The cargo aboard the M/V Faina was meant to complete the tank sale. The hijacking of the Ukrainian-owned, Belize-flagged merchant vessel (M/V) Faina -- and subsequent confimation by the government of Ukraine that there are 33 T-72 tanks and other ammunition and equipment onboard -- has raised questions about the cargo's ultimate destination. In a move likely aimed at stemming controversy, the Government of Kenya has claimed that the ultimate destination for the shipment is the Kenyan Armed Forces. It was a poorly-kept secret, however, that the shipment was originally bound for South Sudan.

New defence chief, General Julius Karangi, took office in July 2011, at a time of heightened public scrutiny of the armed forces over claims of fraudulent procurement, tribalism and a widely held view that the institution had failed to secure national borders. The House questioned recent procurement deals in which 42 AMR Panhard [not Parhard] Light Armoured cars were single sourced from a South African company, or from MIS Sayamar (an Israeli company).

The 2011 military modernisation program included the purchase of ten F-5E fighter jets from Amman, Jordan, the refurbishment and upgrade of Panhard AML 245 Armoured Scout Cars, the midlife refits of weapons systems for Kenya Navy Ships and the purchase of Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC).

The Ministry awarded the contract Ref. No. DOD/423/256/2005/2006 to a firm through restricted tendering at a contract sum of USD 16,368,703.66 or Kshs.1,161,105,809.79 on 6 June 2006. A final contract material inspection report which was to include a performance of quantitative, visual quality inspection and equipment serviceability state checks, was not made available for audit review although the contract sum was fully paid.

Available records show that 32 APCs supplied in 2008 were deployed in Southern Sudan as part of the Kenyan contingent in Unmiss and were still there as of 2014.

The United Nations identified some flaws with the APCs in the field. The design of the vehicles on the top part allows water to enter into the vehicle which accumulates inside and has to be drained. The ingression of water could adversely affect the normal functioning of various systems in the vehicle which could only by corrected by covering them during rainy seasons by a canopy. The pneumatic system especially on the braking system was found to be faulty vausing leakages in a few of the APCs because the manufacturer used plastic fiber at the pipe joints instead of using metallic parts which can withstand high pressure transmission. No provision was made for spare tyres for the APCs and the tyres available cannot withstand a puncture for any extra time as operational vehicles are expected to have self-sealing tyres which can go some distance after the puncture.

The recovery vehicle lacks a rear door for easy access during stationery working, an omission which could only be corrected through modification to have a rear door for efficient use during recovery duties. Faults in gear selection system and power source problems. Rust of some of internal parts which requires greasing and repainting. The cover for the turret is worn out for all APCs and should be replaced with new ones to guard against damage as a result of direct exposure to sunlight and rain.

In 2010 tender regulations were short-circuited and the South African firmM/s OTT Technologies (PTY) Limited was awarded a Sh1.6 billion [$20 million] tender. The move cut out four firms initially singled out for consideration for a restricted tender to the SA group direct order to procure 75 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC). The other four companies that had been invited to take part in a restricted, but competitive tender, were Mechem Technologies (Pty) Limited, Paramount Group, Integrated Convoy Protection (Pty) Limited, all from South Africa, and Israeli’s IAI Ramta.

The Auditor General raised questions over the acquisition of 181 APCs in his report for 2012/2013 financial year. The report said the acquisitions were made without subjecting the process to laid down accounting procedures to ensure value for money and financial probity. The Auditor General raised more questions about how the APCs, which were originally meant for Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), ended up in South Sudan in the hands of the United Nations peacekeeping mission without proper documentation.

The Ministry awarded contract Ref. No. DOD/SYS/015/2007/2008 to a firm through restricted tendering at a contract sum of Euros 22,406,926.00 on 24 June 2008. Although the Ministry explained through article 19.2 of the Agreement that the contract lapsed because it was not fulfilled within four months, the explanation contradicted an earlier one which indicated that the contract was terminated due to lack of funds. In view of this, it was not clear how the contract could be awarded without funds and mutually wound without damages.

In addition, an examination of the Agreement indicates that a termination clause was not included among the General Contractual Conditions. Consequently, was not possible to confirm the circumstances under which the contract was terminated and that the Ministry did not incur any losses arising from contract claims.

The Ministry awarded the contract Ref. No. MOD/SYS/029/2012/2013 to a firm through Direct Procurement at a contract sum of US$ 51,584,235.00 on 15 October 2012. The Ministry accepted that they used Direct Procurement method because APCs are Security items and are not off the shelf items and therefore, have to be tailored and manufactured as per specifications and that the contracted firm is the only entity which could supply APCs being procured in accordance with Section 74(2)(a) of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act, 2005.

However, the Ministry failed to justify the relevance of the initial purchases which were done through restricted tendering as required by Section 133 of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act, 2005 for procurement of security items, while the subsequent purchases of the same material were procured through direct procurement method. Although, the Ministry explained that the firm was the only one which could supply APCs and had been tried and tested by KDF for the supply of the same in a UN Mission to Southern Sudan, the audit observed that the firm had earlier supplied 32 APCs which had numerous flaws and deficiencies, a confirmation that it was more logical to subject the contract to a competitive bidding process in accordance with the procurement law.

The Ministry of Defense did not undertake a market survey as required by Section 8(3)Z of the Public Procurement and Disposal Regulations 2006 which states that a procuring entity shall carry out periodic market survey to inform the placing of orders or adjudication by the relevant award committee. Instead, the contracted firm, also interested in winning the contract, purports to have established market prices for APCs which confirmed that its bid prices were cheaper.

In 2013, the government spent a paltry Ksh91.9 million ($1 million) on weaponry purchased from Germany. The weapons purchased in 2014 included 18 self-propelled guns (B-52 NORA 155mm) and 15 armored personnel carriers (APC). The military acquired heavy arms valued at Ksh2.6 billion ($29 million) from Serbia. DoD prepared a new tender for the purchase 102 APCs in the 2014/15 financial year.

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