Penny Mordaunt MP visits Kenya and Somalia for defence talks

Penny Mordaunt in Kenya
Armed Forces Minister Penny Mordaunt visits British troops in Kenya. Photo: Twitter/ArmyPost

Yesterday, UK defence minister, Penny Mordaunt was in Kenya where she was guest at a luncheon hosted by Kenyan Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Defence, Raychelle Omamo.

During the Kenyan leg of her visit, Ms Mordaunt met with Ms Omamo, to discuss the UK and Kenya’s long-standing Defence relationship, and the pair took the opportunity to speak with influential women working in the Kenyan security sector.

Penny Mordaunt in Kenya
Penny Mordaunt MP attends CS Omamo’s luncheon yesterday. Photo: Twitter/JudiWakhungu

The Minister also met personnel from the High Commission Defence Section, British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) and British Peace Support Team East Africa, was able to see first-hand the scope and scale of UK military activity in Kenya, meet with families of BATUK personnel, and visit the International Peace Support Training Centre.

“I am pleased to visit Kenya where the UK carries out important capacity building work with both Kenyan and regional forces, critical operational readiness training for our own Armed Forces and is committed to support local communities in the areas in which it trains.

“The UK shares a long-standing and mutually beneficial Defence relationship with Kenya, we are bound together by a wide range of shared interests and this is more important now than ever given Kenya’s commitment to the AMISOM mission in Somalia and its fight against terrorism in the region.”

– UK Armed Forces Minister, Penny Mordaunt

The Minister’s visit follows the signing of the Defence Cooperation Agreement between the UK and Kenya at the end of last year, which will confirm the UK’s ability to continue to operate in Kenya and provide the basis for developing the UK/Kenya Defence relationship further.

The UK High Commissioner to Kenya, Mr Nic Hailey, later Tweeted his thanks to CS Omamo for “good exchanges on defence & among women leaders.”

Penny Mordaunt MP attends CS Omamo's luncheon yesterday. Photo: Twitter/JudiWakhungu
Penny Mordaunt MP attends CS Omamo’s luncheon yesterday. Photo: Twitter/JudiWakhungu

The day before (Sunday 14 February), she was in Mogadishu, accompanied by British Ambassador to Somalia, Harriet Mathews where she announced a donation of over $4.3mil to the SNA (Somali National Army) Trust Fund, which will help pay for essential resources, including rations, fuel and medical supplies.

The Minister met with Prime Minister Omar Sharmarke; Defence Minister General Abdulkadir Sheikh Ali (Diini); Internal Security Minister Abdirizak Omar Mohamed; the Chief of Defence Forces Major General Mohammed Aden Ahmed; the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Somalia Michael Keating;and, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia Francisco Madeira.

Armed Forces Minister Penny Mordaunt said:

“I am delighted to announce the UK’s further donation of over £3m to the Trust Fund, which will support the SNA in its fight to defeat Al Shabaab. This demonstrates our commitment to the SNA, and to building the foundations of lasting security in Somalia more widely.”

– Armed Forces Minister, Penny Mordaunt

Penny Mordaunt is a British Conservative Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Portsmouth North since winning the seat at the 2010 United Kingdom general election.

She is the daughter of a paratrooper and a Royal Navy reservist on board HMS King Alfred.

On 11 May 2015 she became the first woman to be appointed Minister of State for the Armed Forces at the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and is currently the only female military veteran in the House of Commons.