In a surprising revelation, President William Ruto admitted to selecting General Francis Ogolla as the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) despite strong opposition from his closest advisors. President Ruto announced his decision during a live televised interview on Sunday, emphasizing that he prioritized merit and experience above any other considerations.
Although detractors criticized General Ogolla’s appointment due to an alleged attempted power grab following the August 9 General Election, President Ruto maintained that the General’s qualifications and expertise justified his selection for the top military post. The President brushed off concerns that he was beholden to military traditions and order, emphasizing that he had considered more than ten candidates before making his decision.
This appointment comes amidst accusations from former Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati that General Ogolla and a group of high-ranking officials attempted to manipulate the election results in favor of Azimio La Umoja candidate Raila Odinga. Chebukati called for a public inquiry into the matter and filed an affidavit with the Supreme Court during the 2022 presidential election petition.
Despite these allegations, President Ruto stressed that he evaluated General Ogolla’s extensive background and found him to be the most suitable choice for the position. He further argued that, as Commander-In-Chief, he has the authority to overrule military dictates, such as the popularly known “Tonje rules,” which guide the institution’s leadership decisions. However, he emphasized that he only exercised this power in the interest of meritocracy.
General Ogolla assumed command of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) on April 29, succeeding General Robert Kibochi in a ceremony at State House, Nairobi. Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale congratulated General Ogolla on his appointment, praising his competence, training, and leadership skills as essential assets for guiding the military to greater prominence in the East African region and beyond.
Both General Kibochi and General Ogolla expressed mutual respect and gratitude for their collaboration during their tenure together. General Ogolla pledged to continue fostering strong relationships with other security agencies and to prioritize the development of modern security strategies in response to evolving national and global threats.
The new KDF Chief emphasized the importance of ensuring the safety, security, and stability of Kenya and its people for the sake of sustainable economic development and prosperity, calling on the KDF to remain determined and committed to these goals.