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Kenya tops region’s military ranking

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Rankings show Kenya’s army size has changed little since 2015, retaining the badge as the continent’s eleventh most superior force for the second year. PHOTO | BD GRAPHIC

Rankings show Kenya’s army size has changed little since 2015, retaining the badge as the continent’s eleventh most superior force for the second year. PHOTO | BD GRAPHIC  

By NEVILLE OTUKI

Posted  Thursday, May 18   2017 at  09:55

In Summary

  • Agency ranks Kenya as the most powerful nation in East Africa based on its manpower, range of weaponry, logistical flexibility and budgets.
  • Kenya’s military is ranked below Ethiopia and is also smaller than its East African peers based on personnel headcount.
  • Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt and Sudan are also ranked ahead of Kenya.

Kenya’s military has for the second time been ranked as Africa’s eleventh most powerful force ahead of its Ugandan and Tanzanian counterparts, despite the neighbouring countries’ bigger personnel count.

Global Firepower, an agency that assesses the military strength of nations, ranks Kenya as the most powerful nation in East Africa based on its manpower, range of weaponry, logistical flexibility and budgets.

Kenya’s military is, however, ranked below Ethiopia and is also smaller than its East African peers based on personnel headcount.

Kenya has 24,150 military personnel, slightly more than half of Uganda’s 45,000 while Tanzania commands 30,000 servicemen.

“Going beyond military equipment totals and perceived fighting strength, is the actual manpower that drives a given military. Wars of attrition favour those with more,” the study says.

The rankings show that Kenya’s army size has changed little since 2015, retaining the badge as the continent’s eleventh most superior force for the second year.

Weaponry

Neighbouring Ethiopia is more powerful and commands a bigger force of 185,500 personnel, which is seven times Kenya’s.

Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt and Sudan are also ranked ahead of Kenya.

Despite having a larger pool of personnel, Uganda ranks behind Kenya in military strength at position 16 in Africa while Tanzania comes in 17th.

Kenya has an arms stockpile of 76 battle tanks, 591 armoured fighting vehicles, 30 self-propelled guns, 25 towed artillery, 131 aircraft, 17 fighter jets, and 61 helicopters, according to Global Firepower.

Uganda’s weapons stock comprises 240 tanks, 43 aircraft, 1,060 armoured fighting vehicles, nearly twice Kenya’s cache, and 26 multiple-launch rocket systems.

Kenya and Tanzania currently lack the multiple launch rockets. Tanzania’s arsenal includes 30 tanks, 150 armoured fighting vehicles and 30 aircraft.

Military spending

Kenya, which is the region’s largest economy, has over the years led its East African neighbours in military spending.

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