Military Life: 4 Ways In.

The Kenya Defence Forces are recruiting again. The document is available online KDF recruitment details 2021. It is usually a highly anticipated season in the country as many young men look forward to enlisting and being part of an exciting career. As usual, advertisements are put up on local media as well as on the Ministry of Defense’s website and social media accounts. Among its major disclaimers is “The Kenya Defense Forces recruitment drive is free to all eligible candidates”. I want to share my case and my thoughts about it.

I know of about 4 ways to get into the military at this point. The first is the legit way whereby you run, sweat it out, get a little naked et al/ apply for Tradesmen like every other aspirant, and the best of the best get the slots from the grassroots level at the counties. The second is where you are headhunted because of a particular talent or skill that you hold. I.e. Sports talent, or musical talent. The third is where a relative or friend holds an “influential” position and you get an invite to join without any struggles. The fourth, you pay someone who holds an influential position to get you to wear that uniform. As I write this, people are asking as much as 300K to enlist. I have noticed over the years that this amount gets higher as the salaries and remunerations commission adjusts the salaries upwards. Every season, I receive at least one message or two asking if I know someone who can get them inside because “wamejipanga this time round”. This year I haven’t received any, but someone wanted me to clarify why it is not nice to pay the price for what they want in life.

Ulisema why is wrong to pay the price for what one wants?
KDF in particular.

Which Price?
A Bribe? (At this point I attach the @kdfinfo tweet on malpractices)
It is free.
I don’t understand what price you’re talking about. But that’s me. People have different opinions. Kila mtu anasimamia turn yake. That’s mine. (the conversation then took a turn on what the Bible says on bribes)

I do not support paying to join the military. You cannot be so patriotic that you want to pay to serve your own country. Well, so patriotic that you feel the need to break a few laws. It loses sense at that point. There are a few reasons why people do this. For starters, I feel the military ceased from being a place to serve the nation to an institution where people join to make money. It is a job. It has become “just a job” to many. That is why many people do not consider it a “service to the nation” kind of thing. Once we mislay this meaning, we can use this institution for whatever it needs to be.

In my perspective of how the disciplined forces system works or should work – if it is not, the military is one of those government institutions that should be utilized to strengthen a country not only security-wise in terms of its defenses, but also economically (NYS, Prisons, NPS, you name it, are in this list as well). This workforce and strength could be utilized and redistributed accordingly over the period of their tenure. We have recently seen the NYS integrated into the construction and maintenance wing of various institutions. Ie. NMS, KAA, KPLC, etc. For years, the Engineers Co has done boreholes in the ASALs roads, and bridges, and most recently rehabilitated a key railway line that had been neglected for years. The government has resources ranging from colleges, skills, brains, and numbers, to equipment that sees people who did not have an opportunity to attend mainstream colleges to gain knowledge and hands-on skills that can be utilized to advance the economy. The Defence forces technical college for instance is a hub of technology with diploma courses ranging from aeronautical engineering, marine engineering, textile engineering, electrical et al. This means that every 3 years (add 9 years of hands-on experience) we are having a range of engineers who can be injected into critical sectors bringing in strength, resilience, discipline and a work ethic that is unmatched. Let me try to translate this practically.

A young man (allow me to use a man) around the age of 18 years, who cannot afford school fees to attend college. The KDF comes around in their village and lines them up. Those with higher campus material clusters are sifted. The government has systems to see them through campus because they are bright and whatnot. Target is enlisted to a service of the Kenya Defense Forces. I will go with the Air Force. That is my service. Therefore, they see it through the basic training and end up at any of your favorite air force bases. Meanwhile, someone is sifting through these papers and matching his grades to a course that would suit him. Alternatively, the person could want to join a specific career in the military. You can be anything here from a chef to a driver to a plumber. Our target is then deployed to the technical wing. He then heads off to the defense forces technical college and starts his academic year as an aeronautical technician. 3 years later we have a fresh technician ready for the world. In the 9/12 years that the target serves under the Kenya air force’s technical wing, he is on a trajectory to become a great technician in the country’s growing aviation sector. This is hoping frustration, addiction, and women in the course of his years in service do not distract our target. If he was to transition at this point to the private sector, we would have a very disciplined, skilled and well molded technician at 30/32 years with 20 plus more years of energy to serve. I have considered that at this point the government (Military) has already recouped their investment on this individual – They train you on condition you stay onboard for amount x years. The government (Civil Service, Private sector) your skills and taxes here, will still benefit from this individual if he ends up using his skill elsewhere, for instance. Kenya Airways (Proceeding with the Air Force Narrative), and all these other airlines and companies in the aviation sector. Replicate this model to other institutions. This is the bare minimum of this model, which can be expounded further. I am thinking on the lines of, one does not have to retire in the military, one can serve the nation in other capacities with the skills gained from the military and they will be of more benefit as compared to having stayed and getting frustrated because of unachieved expectations. Another thorny issue I should share my thoughts.

But there is this other narrative that if I pay Ksh 250,000/-. That is the average current “quote” to “enter” the Defence Forces. I do not endorse it. While it is illegal, it is also an unfair way of taking opportunities from those who do not have the chance to change their lives and those of others (KDF Soldiers have a track record of changing the lives of people – from building for their extended families to facilitating softer lives for third parties). Some of my former superiors, used to joke and say that if one did not want this, they could have given others a chance. In a later write up maybe I will explain the selfishness of wanting to be served but not to serve. You find a few who bought their way in, who feel entitled that they expect their money to continue buying the easy way out of sticky and literally bloody life and death situations. Among the most dreaded comrade is one who did not enlist out of patriotism but one who bought their way in. Some do not adjust to the fact that they signed up to dodge bullets on behalf of others and this affects their performance a great deal while putting the lives of other soldiers at risk. Analysis for another day.

In case you have been waiting for me to tell you where to take your quarter mil so that you can wear the coveted uniform, my apologies. That amount of money can take you through a nice technical college or a polytechnic and you will leave with skills that will give you similar results over a period with patience. Alternatively, a good business would see you through, especially if you have already gone to college but you wanted to apply your skills with the military. It is not worth it honestly. We will still want to respect a disciplined force at the end of the day but deep down you will be knowing you soiled that very virtue at the get go. Just wait for your time. If God wants you in, He will get you in. We got in with cavities in our teeth and underweight, I trained with a 35 year old back in my day. God will get you there. If all doors are blocked at the end of the 8 year period after your 18th birthday then let it be and serve with equal zeal and dedication in the career you find yourself in.

Meanwhile, stay fit, eat healthy, avoid drugs, keep your records clean and take care of yourself as you wait for the next recruitment exercise. But because everyone is not nice, there is a hotline for recruitment malpractice: 0726419709/ 0120300595.

All the best 2021 Aspirants.

Military Life: 4 Ways In.

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