Choice of new KDF chief legacy of merit 

A new head of the military has been appointed in the continuing remarkable tradition of rotating leadership between the various sections of the Kenya Defence Forces. President William Ruto has promoted Lieutenant-General Francis Omondi Ogolla to full General and named him the new Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), succeeding General Robert Kibochi.

It is now the turn of the Kenya Air Force, as Gen Kibochi, who came from the Kenya Army, took office in 2020, following the retirement of Gen Samson Mwethethe, from the Kenya Navy. The KDF Act stipulates that the CDF and the three serving commanders of the Army, Air Force and Navy shall serve a single term of four years or leave on attaining the retirement age of 60, whichever comes first.

The apparently seamless succession in the military follows the famous ‘Tonje Rules’ that were crafted by retired Chief of General Staff Daudi Tonje. The rotation gives equal chances to the three units of the defence forces to lead the military.

Gen Ogolla’s elevation confirms that meritocracy reigns in this important institution as he, as the most senior and deserving officer from the Air Force, takes over the mantle. 

It speaks volumes about building confidence and respect in institutions in the discharge of their duties. There is no room for speculative yarns, as the military showcases its commitment to merit and order. This military has distinguished itself as an institution driven by its core mandate, which is the safeguarding of the country’s territorial integrity. The officers do not dabble in politics or engage in sectarian or divisive activities.

For an institution that has earned admiration and plaudits for its role in peacekeeping missions on the continent, including its current mission in the troubled eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the KDF has shown exemplary professionalism.

It has also done quite well in peacetime by contributing to national development. It is, after all, a huge industry that can be relied on to deliver with its vast capacity and expertise in the building of huge infrastructure projects.

Gen Ogolla should now effectively lead his team to deliver for the good of the nation.