The Kenya Defence Forces recruitment of servicemen and servicewomen, and constables started on Monday amid complaints of few slots for women.
Vice Chief of Defence Forces, Lt. Gen. Robert Kibochi, warned that there was an increase in the number of people soliciting money from the public by claiming they could secure recruitment in the forces.
He said that 20 cases of malpractices were reported during the February/March recruitment, with Kenyans losing over Sh4.2 million to con men.
This was an increase from the nine cases reported during the May/June 2017 recruitment where Kenyans lost Sh4.9 million.
“Seven civilians have so far been charged and some KDF soldiers who were implicated have been dismissed from service,” Lt. Gen. Kibochi said during the launch.
The officer said recruitment into the army, navy and the air force would be done according to the Kenya Defence Forces Act, and will continue up to December 19 at different centres as communicated through the media and websites.
“Anyone purporting to recruit outside the stipulated dates and times which is 8am to 5pm on weekdays is doing so illegally and should be reported,” he said.
Recruitment officers were dispatched to various parts of the country after the launch.
In Lamu, women who turned up at Kibaki Grounds were locked out as they were told that there was no slot for women from the county.
Recruiting officer in charge of Lamu West, Lt. Col. Paul Aruasa, said they were targeted men only since there was enough representation of women from Lamu in KDF and they were not being gender insensitive.
The drive, however, saw a smaller number of youth turn up compared to previous years.
Ms Immaculate Muthee, 21, who was among the women turned away, said it was unfair to leave them out.
Miraa chewers and candidates with tattoos were in for a shock as many were left due to stained teeth and decorations on their bodies.
“We have turned away a good number of recruits due to the discolouration of their teeth maybe because of the kind of water they are using here or due to miraa chewing. We have also left out recruits due to low weight, tattoos in some parts bodies and low grades,” Lt. Col. Aruasa said.
The situation for women was the same at Nyahururu Stadium in Laikipia County, as they were also turned away.
Chief recruiting officer Lt. Col. Eliud Were said there were no vacancies for women at the centre.
“This however, does not mean that the military does not want female soldiers because you might find us recruiting female candidates in the next centre within the same county,” said the officer.
Other candidates turned away included those that presented photocopies of their original certificates and other documents and those older than the required age.
In Nyeri County, KDF raised concerns over the low turnout.
While the number of candidates at Chaka was higher than last year, Lt. Col. Michael Simbili noted that the numbers were still low considering the rate of unemployment in the country.