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UK, Kenya Strengthen Security Partnerships for Safer Coast

The United Kingdom has pledged to continue working with Kenya security agencies to ensure the Coast region remains safe for citizens and foreigners.

On Friday, during the King’s Birthday celebration at Tamarind Hotel in Mombasa, British High Commission Nairobi Chargé D’ Affaires Josephine Gauld said the UK-Kenya security partnership remains unparalleled in the region.

This was the first celebration to mark King Charles III’s birthday since his coronation in May.

It was also UK’s first party at the Coast since the Covid-19 outbreak.

Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Nassir and hundreds of other coast politicians, the business community and hoteliers attended the event.

Gauld said thousands of people from the UK travel, live, work and invest in Kenya’s coastal counties and there is a need for collaboration with Kenya’s security.

“We recently handed over a UK-funded newly built Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) headquarters in Mombasa which should become fully operational later this month,” Gauld said.

The Sh81 million ATPU headquarter, which was handed over to the Kenyan government last year, will provide a dedicated space for the ATPU to work on terrorism cases.

She said they have also been working with the Kenyan Navy to build its capacity.

“When we speak of our defence relationship with Kenya, many will think of the army. However, here at the Coast, we are also working with the Kenyan Navy,” she said.

In cooperation with the Danish government, the UK has co-funded a dive boat and delivered a Damage Control Unit to Kenya Navy that complements the firefighting unit donated last year, Gauld said.

“We have followed this up with boarding, sea survival and fire fighting training, all designed to help the Kenya Navy deliver International Maritime Organisation-compliant training for your own navy,” she said.

According to Gauld, the UK’s main effort this year has been in helping Kenya to develop a Marine Commando Unit.

“As part of a collaborative project with the US, we have built an assault course here in Mombasa, sent the first-ever Kenyan on the elite Royal Marines Officer Training course, and had the Royal Marines train the first batch of Kenyan Marines and Marine instructors,” she said.

She said this all serves to underline that the UK recognises the importance of maritime security, the enormity of the challenges faced in the Western Indian Ocean and the important role Kenya is playing in overcoming them. 

The UK government said it has deepened its connections to the Kenyan coast as it now operates a visa application centre in Mombasa.

“This means you no longer have to travel to Nairobi in order to travel to the UK,” Gauld said.

The British Council also operates an Exam Centre so that English language exams, including those necessary for UK university admission, can be sat here at the Coast, she said.

The UK has also invested in research in Kenya supporting more than 800 staff and 50 PhD students in Kilifi and Nairobi, and publishing scientific papers to support evidence-informed decision-making.

“We have also been proud to work directly with young people from all along the Coast, alongside human rights campaigners, religious groups, women’s rights organisations and county governments, to realise their potential and make a positive contribution to their communities,” she said.

She said some of the British investments on the Coast support thousands of jobs.

The Sh8.9 trillion solar plant in Malindi, co-funded by the UK, is producing electricity and providing affordable power to Kenyans within the coastal region and it is connected to the national grid. 

The new chilli and fruit professing facility in Kilifi is supporting livelihoods, she said.

“In Mombasa, the UK has invested Sh5 billion to support clean, green infrastructure. These are just a few of the vital economic and trading links between the UK and the coast,” Gauld said.

She said climate change also remains a key concern.

Source : TheStar



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