President Ruto appoints General Charles Kahariri as new CDF after Ogolla’s death

President William Ruto has promoted Lieutenant General Charles Muriu Kahariri to the rank of general and appointed him Chief of the Defense Forces (CDF).

At the same time, the current commander of the Kenya Air Force, Major General John Mugaravai Omenda, has been promoted to the rank of lieutenant general and appointed vice chief of the Defense Forces.

The promotion of Lieutenant General Omenda has seen the promotion of the first female service commander, with the promotion of Major General Fatuma Gaiti Ahmed as Commander of the Kenya Air Force.

Other appointments include that of Major General Thomas Ng’ang’a, currently Commander of the Kenya Navy, to the position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Administration and Finance at the Kenya National Defense University.

Major General Ng’ang’a will be replaced as Commander of the Kenya Navy by Major General Paul Owuor Otieno.

Also promoted was Brigadier Peter Nyamu Githinji, who was promoted to the rank of Major General and appointed Senior Air Management Staff at the National Defense College.

Other promotions include Brigadier Jattani Kampare Gula, who was promoted to Major General and appointed Director General of the Kenya Meat Commission, while Brigadier George Okumu was also promoted to Major General and appointed Director General of Kenya Ordinance Factories. Corporation and Food Processing Factory.

Brigadier Samuel Kosgei Kipkorir has been appointed Deputy Commander of the Kenya Air Force.

Lieutenant General Jimson Longiro Mutai remains Vice-Chancellor of the Kenya National Defense University), Lieutenant General David Kimaiyo Tarus (Commander of the Kenya Army) and Lieutenant General Juma Shee Mwinyikai (Commander of the National Defense College).

Prior to his promotion to the second highest rank in the military, Lieutenant General Kahariri was deputy commander of the National Defense College.

Lieutenant General Mutai was previously the head of the Kenya Navy; Lieutenant General Tarus, Deputy Commander of the Kenyan Army; and Lieutenant General Mwinyikai served in Somalia and led the advance towards Kismayo and the safety of Jubaland, near the Kenyan border.

Only the commander of the Kenyan army has the rank of lieutenant general, and his counterparts commanding his units have the rank of major general.

General Ogolla was from the Kenya Air Force, while his predecessor General Kibochi was from the Kenya Army and General Samson Mwathethe was from the Kenya Navy.

The KDF Law states that a CDF, his deputy and service commanders will serve a single four-year term or retire upon reaching the mandatory retirement age.

The law, however, allows the president, upon recommendation of the National Defense Council, to extend the mandate of the CDF for a period not exceeding one year.

The retirement age of a general is set at 62 years, while that of the lieutenant general is set at 61 years, and that of the major general and the brigadier retire at 59 and 57 years, respectively.

“The President may remove, recall or redeploy the Chief of the Defense Forces, the Deputy Chief of the Defense Forces or any of the Service Commanders at any time before the term expires,” the law says.

In addition to age, there is also seniority and the role it plays in the appointment of a four-star general.

“In appointing the Chief of the Defense Forces, the Deputy Chief of the Defense Forces and the three Service Commanders, the President will take into account: seniority; formal military and civilian education; possession of a relevant degree from a recognized university or institution in Kenya or other equivalent qualifications as may be approved by the Defense Council; and military and security experience,” the KDF Law says.

The Defense Council which will recommend names to the Head of State is chaired by the Defense Cabinet Secretary, currently Aden Duale, it also includes the FDC, the three service commanders of the Defense Forces and the Principal Secretary of Defence, currently occupied by Patrick Mariru.

The council is responsible for the overall policy, control and supervision of the Kenya Defense Forces; and performs any other functions prescribed by national legislation, including advising the President on the KDF, formulating the general policy of the KDF and overseeing its implementation; as well as exercise a supervisory role in the training or carrying out instructions of members of the Defense Forces in any country outside Kenya.

Previous KDF chiefs are: Major General Robert Bernard Penfold, Major General Joseph Ndolo (1969-1971), General (Rtd) Jackson Mulinge (1971-1986), General (Rtd) Mohamud Haji Mohamed Barrow (1986-1996) , Gen (Rtd) Daudi Tonje (1996-2000), General (Rtd) Joseph Kibwana (2000-2005), General (Rtd) Jeremiah Kianga (2005-2011), General (Rtd) Julius Waweru Karangi (2011-2015), Gen (Rtd) Samson Mwathethe (2015-2020), General Robert Kariuki Kibochi (2020-2023) and General Francis Omondi Ogolla (2023 – 2024).

Major General Ndolo, General (Rtd) Mulinge and General (Rtd) Ogolla have since died, while the rest are alive.