Economy

Kenya gets paltry Sh26m in military pact with UK

Some of the vehicles used by the British Army Training Unit of Kenya based in Nanyuki. PHOTO | FILE
Some of the vehicles used by the British Army Training Unit of Kenya based in Nanyuki. PHOTO | FILE  

Kenya will receive a paltry Sh26.4 million annually for British troops using its military barracks if Parliament approves a new military co-operation deal between the nations.

Under the joint agreement mutually negotiated between Nairobi and London, the Kenyan government will receive Sh7.2 million annually for the five years the British soldiers will occupy permanent structures at Laikipia Air Base.

The Kenyan government will also receive Sh19.2 million from British soldiers for use of Kahawa Garrishon barracks.

But the UK military spends about Sh8 billion annually to maintain the nearly 10,000 troops who carry out military exercises in Kenya’s harsh terrain every year before deploying them to active operations in areas such as Afghanistan and Iraq.

“For avoidance of doubt, the government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland shall pay Sh7.2 million and Sh19.2 million per calendar year for the licence granted for permanent infrastructure at Laikipia Air Base and Kahawa Garrison respectively,” Article 9 of the agreement on the access to facilities states.

The agreement says that permanent infrastructure constructed or installed by British Forces will be Kenya government property upon the expiry of the agreement.

“The government of the republic of Kenya grants the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Armed Forces at Laikipia Airbase and Kahawa Garrison during the validity of this agreement,” a memorandum to Parliament signed by Kenya and Britain on December 9, 2015 says.

Kenya and Britain want Parliament to ratify the cooperation memorandum.

Kenya had threatened not to renew military co-operation deal with the United Kingdom when it expired last year unless British soldiers who commit crimes while in the country face justice in local courts.

The new military deal says British soldiers who commit crimes while in Kenya will face justice in local courts.

It obligates Britain to provide schedule of exercises, number of troops, types of weapons, ammunition, explosives, vehicles and major equipment it intends to bring in.

“Visiting forces (British) shall, prior to entry into the host nation (Kenya), submit through the implementing ministry a schedule detailing all cargo on board their vessels. Such cargo shall be subject to inspection and verification by the relevant authorities of host nation (Kenya),” the agreement reads.

Britain has been shipping in its military hardware for training without inspection by Kenyan authorities. This had also stalled the pact renewal.

Kenya will have the right to stop entry of personnel or importation of military stores. The signing of the pact followed the thawing of frost relationship between Kenya and UK.