President William Ruto December 12 presided over the first trooping of the Colour ceremony for the new 23 Mechanised Infantry Battalion (23 MIB).
This is the first such event for him since he became the Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces on August 30.
Officials said this is a significant transition for the Eight Infantry Brigade as the 23 MIB will now be enhanced with more support including mechanized capabilities like the use of Armoured Infantry fighting vehicles.
The 23 MIB is a new team and is one of the units of the Eight Mechanised Infantry Battalion currently located in Karare, Marsabit County.
It was established in 2017 but became fully operational in 2018 and has continued to grow in personnel, skills and operational capacity including being deployed to represent KDF in the East African Community Command Post Exercise in Jinja, Uganda in 2019.
Members of the infantry were in March this year deployed to Somalia under the Africa Transition Mission in Somalia (Atmis).
Prior to 23 MIB, other units existed as Kenya Rifles, from 1KR to the last unit, 21 KR. The Kenya Rifles units include 1KR, 3KR, 5KR, 7KR, 9KR, and 11KR previously based in Lanet but that was disbanded in 1964, 15 KR, 17KR, 19KR and 21 KR. Current MIBs are 23 MIB, 25 MIB and 27 MIB.
Ruto handed over the 23 MIB its regimental colours that symbolise the highest mark of honour for any unit and whose loss would amount to the disbandment of the unit.
They are therefore well guarded.
Unlike his predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta who donned military uniforms on such occasions, Ruto did not.
The practice of “Trooping the Colours” originated from 17th century England whereby the Queen’s Colour, a symbol of sovereignty, would be showcased in an elaborate ceremony.
After independence, the presidential and regimental colours replaced those of the Queen.
The colours symbolise the spirit of the regiment for they bear the battle honours and badges granted to it in commemoration of gallant deeds performed by its troops.
Last year was a moment of pride for the 19th Battalion, the Kenya Rifles (19 KR), as the unit received the Presidential and Regimental Colour during the 2021 Jamhuri Day celebrations held on Sunday, 12 December 2021 at the Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi County.
The Colours were presented by Uhuru while donning the ceremonial Kenya Army red tunic dress.