Country report and updates: Kenya

Last revision: 28 Jul 1998
28 Jul 1998

1 Conscription

conscription does not exist

Kenya has no conscription and has never had since achieving independence in 1963. [2] [3] [1]


Recruitment into the armed forces is on a voluntary basis. The minimum recruitment age is not known.

The armed forces and the security forces are totally dominated by the ruling Kenya African National Union (KANU) party. [7]

2 Conscientious objection

There is no known legal provision for conscientious objection.

3 Desertion

No information available.

4 Recruitment by armed opposition groups

According to the government, there are two guerrilla groups in Kenya: the February Eighteen Popular Resistance Army (FEPRA) and the Kenya National Patriotic Front. It is, however, widely believed that president Moi is using these as an excuse for repression of the media and opposition parties. [4] [5] [6] [7]

Nothing is known about recruitment for these armed opposition groups.

5 History

Under British colonial rule, conscription existed in Kenya, applying to all British citizens. For some time also women were liable for military service. There were provisions for COs, who could apply for exemption. [1]

6 Annual statistics

The armed forces comprise 24,200 troops - nearly 0.1 percent of the population. Furthermore there is a 5,000-strong paramilitary police unit. [8]


[1] Prasad, D., T. Smythe 1968. Conscription: a world survey, compulsory military service and resistance to it War Resisters' International, London. [2] Eide, A., C. Mubanga-Chipoya 1985. Conscientious objection to military service, report prepared in pursuance of resolutions 14 (XXXIV) and 1982/30 of the Sub-Commission of Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. United Nations, New York. [3] Abecassis, L., P. Duong, S. Perrier, N. Watt, 1994. Conscription Militaire ou Service National a Option Civique, rapport de l'enquête préliminaire effectuée auprès d'une vingtaine d'Etats membres de l'UNESCO. CCIVS - UNESCO, Paris. [4] Newsweek, 27 March 1995. [5] NRC Handelsblad (Dutch newspaper), 18 April 1995. [6] New African, May 1995. [7] De Volkskrant (Dutch newspaper), 30 August 1995. [8] Institute for Strategic Studies 1997. Military Balance 1997/98. ISS, London, UK.