President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday inaugurated the National Defence University-Kenya, reaffirming his administration’s commitment to empowering the country’s defence, security and governance professionals through the provision of quality training.
Speaking during the inauguration ceremony at Lanet in Nakuru County, President Kenyatta emphasized that without high-quality human capital, the pursuit of sustained socio-economic development will remain a mere dream.
“…in the past, focus has been on non-security related education with narrow-mind thinking that higher education was not particularly relevant for the security sector.
“As part of our broad reforms in the education sector, my administration has had to rethink this view; because we equally need strategic thinkers even in the security sector,” President Kenyatta said.
The National Defence University-Kenya (NDU-K) is the first public university to be established under Section 24 of the Universities Act 2012 as an entity of national strategic importance.
The Head of State, who is also the chancellor of the NDU-K expressed satisfaction that the institution of higher learning has joined the ranks of a few international universities mandated to offer high-quality security-related training and education programmes.
He added that the establishment of the National Defence University-Kenya aligns well with the overall Government strategy of crystalizing the reforms in the education sector to drive Kenya’s socio-economic transformation agenda.
President Kenyatta awarded a charter creating the National Defence University-Kenya that will confer specialized degrees and offer courses in the fields of defence, security and strategy on May 27 last year.
“I am glad to note that within the 12-month transition period, the university has made commendable progress against the benchmarks set out in the governing instruments, especially the charter. We now have fully functioning management and governance frameworks to facilitate seamless service delivery to stakeholders,” he said.
The President pointed out that the university will contribute to strengthening Kenya’s position as an education hub as well as enhance the country’s capacity to align with the evolving regional and global security environment.
Partnering with relevant stakeholders in developing capacities at various levels of national defence and security architecture, President Kenyatta said the university is set to enrich the country’s multi-agency and whole-of-government approach to service delivery.
“Fundamentally, the National Defence University-Kenya as a national think-tank, shall play an active role in transforming our peace and security frameworks for posterity,” President Kenyatta said.
He urged the university council and management to optimize the institution’s capabilities and align its programmes with best practices through mentorship and benchmarking to ensure continuous improvement of human capital and infrastructure.
“As I prepare to pass the leadership baton to the next administration, I wish to state that it has not just been an honour for me to serve as your Commander-in-Chief but more importantly, I really appreciate the support you have rendered to me in building our nation.
“I will remain forever grateful given the enormous strides we have accomplished together for this great country,” President Kenyatta said.
Chief of the Defence Forces General Robert Kibochi said the National Defence University-Kenya stands out as one of the pillars of training in higher education and research in the entire continent of Africa.
“There aren’t very many of them and this will stand out as a training base in this region,” General Kibochi said.
Present at the ceremony were Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa and military top brass including the university’s Vice-Chancellor Lt. General J. M. Mwangi among other senior Government officials.