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Kenya's military equipment opposed by a US congressman
, by George Kibbs

Kenya's escalating war on Al-Shabaab may suffer a big blow after the sale of high-tech military equipment Kenya was buying from the US government may be halted by a US congressman.

Republican Congressman Ted Budd for 13th District of North Carolina opposes the Ksh. 43 Billion equipment including refurbished helicopters to Kenya which were to be supplied by the US-based manufacturer to boost military transport, rescue and combat. The deal had been signed just days after president Trump assumed office with most Kenyans praising the decision seen as a boost to the relationship between Kenya and the US.

Congressman Ted claims his office has received credible allegations of faulty contracting practices, fraud, and unfair treatment surrounding the sale of 12 Air Tractors to Kenyan military.

While supporting the sale earlier, a statement from African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) said, "This proposed sale contributes to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by improving the security of a strong regional partner who is a regional security leader undertaking critical operations against al-Shabaab and troop contributor to the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom),” said the statement.

 The equipment includes 12 Air Tractor AT-802L planes and two AT-504 trainer aircraft according to a statement by the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency. These types were originally built as an agricultural, unarmed aircraft which have been used around the world fighting forest fires.

According to documents from the sale, the prime contractor will be L-3 Communications, Platform Integration Division, of Waco, Texas who was to send at least five experts from the contractor to be sent to Kenya to implement the programme.

The opposition by the congressman stems from the allegations of questionable reputation of the seller after its personnel was found to have engaged in a series of human rights violations against detainees in Abu Ghraib Prison, Iraq, in 2003. The violations included physical and sexual abuse, torture, rape, sodomy and murder.

The congressman wants the seller investigated of allegations of faulty contracting practices, fraud, and unfair treatment.

The company  allegedly involved itself in bribery claims for the re-election of President of Benin, Mathieu Kerekou although the founder of the infamous private military company Blackwater Worldwide had been advising the Trump campaign team on matters related to intelligence and defence, including weighing in on candidates for the Defence and State departments.

If passed, KDF would suffer irreparably as they badly need an upper hand over the Al-Shabaab.

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