On April 8th, President Uhuru Kenyatta commissioned the Ruiru small arms factory, an enterprise the Kenyan government is pumping in 4B shillings. A first of its kind, the factory will have a single-shift annual production capacity of 12,000 assault rifles, as part of Kenya’s multi-agency national security industries strategy.
Two weeks after opening the arms factory, the Head of State flew to DR Congo for a three-day visit, where he met his counterpart Felix Tshisekedi, a trip Kenya signed a number of key security and trade agreements. Among them are the deployment of Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) to mineral-rich eastern DRC to help in peace-keeping.
“Kenya will voluntarily be part of the Rapid Intervention Brigade to come and support the FARDC (Congolese army) in order to eradicate insecurity in the east of our country,” President Kenyatta and DRC’s Felix Tshisekedi announced at a joint press conference in Kinshasa last week.
According to highly placed sources, Kenya’s security partnership with President Tshisekedi’s regime includes supplying arms to the country’s military, as well as personnel. The Eastern part of mineral-rich eastern DRC is infested with more than 120 armed groups, fighting over rare minerals and control of the region.
Last Wednesday, the Kenya Defense Forces announced its Quick Reaction Force (QRF) troops had completed training at Kangaita Camp in Mt. Kenya and are on standby for deployment in DR Congo.
The Ruiru small arms factory was Kenya’s main bargaining chip to secure a deal of supplying arms with President Tshisekedi’s government. In return, Kenya will have access to rare earth minerals to be used in its new nanotechnology plant at the Dedan Kimathi University.
Coincidentally, the Dedan Kimathi University’s nanotechnology and semiconductors manufacturing facility was opened by the president, a day after coming from DR Congo. This, including the unveiling of Ruiru arms factory, and a visit to Congo, all happened in April, in a span of less than three weeks.