The Kenya Defence Forces has defended the decision to limit the number of female recruits to eight per cent of the targeted 2,000 trainee soldiers.
Recruitment teams turned away more than 30 women in Msambweni, Kwale county on Tuesday saying they had no slots.
Lt Gen Joseph Kasaon, Vice chief of defence forces, on Monday said women will comprise between seven and eight per cent of the recruits.
This means that only up to 250 female recruits will be listed before the admissions close on March 13.
The decision is likely to attract criticism owing to the fact that it violates the constitutional two-thirds gender requirement.
A senior military officer, who declined to be named because he is not allowed to speak to press, said military duty is slightly different from other jobs.
The official added that recruiting a big number of women could affect KDF’s operational strength.
“Complying with the constitutional requirement of not hiring more two thirds from a one gender could undermine KDF in terms of strength.”
The officer said KDF is trying to get to the level [2/3 gender rule] “but what we do is slightly different”.
“Military service is a peculiar profession so you cannot sacrifice the numbers in terms of defence and strength of the service. You have to balance between having the strength in the service and the constitutional requirement – they have to go in tandem. We are progressing but as much as we go forward, you have to bear in mind the work that we do,” the officer said.