Low academic grades, poor diet and drugs have locked out dozens of youth in Lamu from joining Kenya Defence Forces in the ongoing military recruitment.

More than 30 potential candidates out of the more than 200 who showed up for the military recruit at Kibaki grounds could not attain the recommended weight of 54.5 kilograms for men and 50.0 kilograms for ladies.

According to Senior Recruiting Officer in charge of Lamu West, Lieutenant Colonel Zacharia Burudi, the number of female recruits who showed up for the exercise this year was too low compared to their male counterparts.

Lt Colonel Burudi said only 15 ladies turned up for the recruitment and seven of them failed to meet the cut.  

He cited low academic qualifications and discoloured teeth, caused by chewing miraa, as the main reasons why many failed to qualify.

“Most of the candidates who turned up failed to meet the required KCSE aggregate grade of a D (plain). We also had to turn away others due to discoloured teeth while others were too skinny,” Lt Col Burudi said.

The number of youth who turn up for this year’s exercise was low compared to previous years.

Lt Col Burudi cited cultural beliefs in Lamu as a key contributor to the few number of women who showed up for the exercise.

“I am aware that the Swahili or Bajuni cultures don’t allow women to take part in such exercises. So far we only have eight ladies remaining in the recruitment process and we fear that the number might reduce even further after the recruits pass through the various stages required,” he said.