President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday, June 15 signed the Mílitary Veterans Bill, 2022 into law ushering in a new framework that promises major benefits for Kenya’s veterans and their families.
A Kenyan citizen considered a veteran under the act is; a Kenyan citizen who has served in the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), became a member of the forces after 1963 or served in the King’s African Rífles (KAR) before 1963, has completed service in the Forces or KDF, receives a pension from the Forces or KDF and has not been dishonorably discharged from service.
The Act establishes a regulatory and institutional framework for the management of veterans’ affairs. Here, Business Today looks at 5 key highlights from the new law.
Provision of Benefits for Veterans
A number of benefits may be conferred to veterans under the new law. Among them is counselling and treatment for post-traumatíc stress and related conditions as well as physical rehábilitation for any condition arising out of service.
Another key benefit veterans will be entitled to is educatíon, training and skills development as well as facilitation and advice on employment placement. They will also get facilitation and advice on business opportunities. These benefits are intended to help veterans continue to be productive members of society even after their service.
Benefits for veterans dependants (spouse and children) include facilitation or assistance in educatíon placement for veterans’ children and facilitation or advice on employment placement and business opportunities. Another benefit for dependants is counselling and treatment for post-traumatic stress or related conditions.
Another provision under the benefits is honoring and memorializing of fallen veterans.
Special Benefits for Disabled Veterans
Under the law, veterans who suffer from physical or mental disability arising from their service shall be given special benefits.
Dependants Educatíon Fund
The establishment of the Dependants Educatíon Fund is one of the biggest wins for veterans and their families under the new law. The fund will provide scholarships for the educatíon of the children of veterans, deceased members of the KDF and deceased veterans.
The Defence Council shall prescribe regulations for processing applications for scholarships from the fund.
Defence Forces Retirement Home
Under the new law, a retirement home known as the Defence Forces Retirement Home will be established to provide residential and related services to veterans.
Regulations on matters including persons eligible to stay at the home and the services offered will be determined by the Defence Council.
Defence Council and Advisory Committee
Under the new law, the Defence Council will be tasked with developing a policy on veterans as well as considering proposals by the Cabinet Secretary, the Chief of Defence Forces or the Director of Milítary Veterans regarding the policy on funding and budgeting in connection with the veterans’ affairs.
The act also establishes the advisory committee on veterans to advise and make recommendations to the Defence Council, Cabinet Secretary or Director of Veterans on any matter relating to the veterans or their dependants.