Friday, April 10, 2009


More than half of those who turned up for the Mandera District military recruitment failed the weight requirement. Less than 40 recruits attained the required 54.9kg. Only two women weighed 50kg, leading to disqualification of five others who had turned up.

Local leaders blamed famine for the recruits’ underweight saying the Government should have considered the situation and lowered the weight requirement for drought-stricken pastoral areas.

Senior KA recruiting officer Francis Kiratu said: "Underweight has nearly marred our recruitment exercise. Before we even went into other mandatory screening such as physical fitness and medical check up, more than half of the recruits were disqualified." He said most recruits weighed below 45kg.

None was recruited from Lafey and Arabia divisions, which had one and three recruits respectively, because they were below the required weight for male recruits. Mr Abdimajid Mohamed, a civic leader, said this was evidence how serious the drought was. But Mandera District branch ODM co-ordinator Muslim Issack Yussuf claimed recruiting officers used weight to disqualify many recruits and picked those who paid bribe. She said the officers charged recruits more than Sh150,000 through M-Pesa to the number of one of the recruiting officers. This is serious and should be investigated.

However, Lt-Colonel Kiratu dismissed the claims as malicious, adding that those making the allegations were interested parties whose children missed out in the exercise fairly. The military recruitment exercise has been going on countrywide since last month. Residents say the army should shun away from bribery and enlist the youth who want to be recruited.