Gen Mwathethe gets one more year in office

President Uhuru Kenyatta has extended the term of Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) Gen Samson Mwathethe (pictured) by a year in changes that saw the service get a new Director of Military Intelligence.

This was after the Defence Council advised that the term of Gen Mwathethe be extended because he had performed well.

The council which met the president at State House also recommended the promotion of 22 senior officers and appointment of three others.

In the changes, Brig Said Mohamed Farah was promoted and named the Director Military Intelligence (DMI) while Maj Gen Adan Kanchoro Mulata was promoted to Lt General and named the commandant National Defence College.

Brig Joseph Kivunzi was promoted to a Maj-Gen and appointed the General Office Commanding Western Command while Brig Jonah Maina Mwangi was promoted to Maj-Gen and appointed the Assistant Chief of Defence Forces, Doctrine and Training.

The president upheld the promotion of Brig Albert Kiprop Kendagor to Maj Gen and appointed him to be commandant of Kenya Military Academy while Brig George Nganga was promoted to Maj-Gen and named the director of medical services.

Brig Mohamed Abdalla Badi was promoted to Maj Gen and named senior director staff air, NDC, while Brig Martin Kizito was promoted to Maj Gen and appointed commandant Staff Defence College and Col Abdulahi Gure Rashid was promoted to Brig and appointed chief of training defence training headquarters while Col Paul Kahuria was promoted to Brig and appointed commander 6 brigade.

Others promoted from Col to Brig and appointed included James Mutuku (Chief Operations defence headquarters), Dixon Chivatsi (Chief of personnel defence headquarters), Juma Mwinyikai (Commander Armoured brigade), Willy Sidwaka (Chief provost) and David Kimaiyo Tarus (Commander artillery brigade).

Other colonels promoted to Brig and appointed include Stephene Otieno (Commander engineers brigade), James Nderitu (Commander Kahawa Garrison), Daniel Omondi (chief of legal defence hq), Joseph Mburu (Managing director defence forces medical scheme), Ibrahim Khamisi (chief inspectorate), Jimson Mutai (commander Kenya Navy base Mtongewe) and David Ketter (chief of logistics at headquarters Kenya Army).

Those appointed included Maj Gen George Mayamba Owinow (deputy force commander Amisom), Maj Gen Ngewa Mukala (Managing Director Kenya Ordinance Factories Corporation) and Brig Rashid Elmi the director international peace support training centre.

Gen Mwathethe’s term in office as the CDF ended Saturday but the defence council had extended it.

The National Defence Council met last week on Tuesday, April 23 and deliberated on the succession issue and briefed their commander in chief President Kenyatta.

The KDF Act says a CDF, his vice and service commanders serve a single term of four yeas or retire upon attaining the mandatory retirement age.

But the Act says the President may, on the recommendation of the National Defence Council, extend the CDF’s term for a period not exceeding one year in times of war or emergencies like political uncertainty.

The move to extend Gen Mwathethe’s term means there will be changes in the next Board meeting at the Defence headquarters which will affect his vice Lt Gen Robert Kibochi, Army Commander Lt Gen Walter Raria and Lt Gen Leonard Ngondi, the force commander of the AU-UN Hybrid operation in Darfur, Sudan.

The officers may be retired and others promoted probably in September.

Gen Mwathethe, a naval officer, was named the CDF on April 17, 2015 replacing Gen Julius Karangi from Kenya Airforce, which now gives an automatic seat to Kenya Army going by tradition.

“Gen Mwathethe has generally performed well and we see him as a trusted man of the president,” said another official who asked not to be named.

He took over the helm on May 4, 2015 at a colorful ceremony at Department of Defence headquarters.

Under the Tonje rules, the position of the CDF is rotated among the three services- Kenya Army, Kenya Airforce and Navy. Retired Chief of General Staff Gen Daudi Tonje drafted a number of rules that have steered operations in the force in terms of appointments.

The new CDF will oversee the transition from the Kenyatta presidency in 2022. And according to the Somalia transition plan, KDF is supposed to withdraw its troops from the war-torn country by 2021, which the new military boss will oversee.

Under his rule, he is credited for the development of a national defence policy on which to anchor Kenya’s defence strategies and the institutionalisation of KDF’s gender policy.

“The Generals’ outlook lay deliberate emphasis on infrastructure development, research and development and technology transfer to foster self reliance,” said another official.

Gen Mwathethe has held various command positions as the VCDF, Navy Commander, Deputy Navy Commander and Navy logistics commander.

Under his leadership, incidents of piracy were reduced at the Indian Ocean and the military expanded by constructing a number of support Units.

A new barracks that has been under construction at Garissa is set to be commissioned soon.

After he took over in 2015, insiders say he established new camps at various places and especially in Somalia to help in conducting patrols, assault, raids and other defensive operations to destroy threats of any nature.

Other officials within KDF under his leadership, he has managed to address the welfare issue of the officers and soldiers.

“He took upon himself and ordered any case of compensation be addressed almost immediately to avoid complaints from families.”

He joined the Navy in 1978 as a seaman and rose through the ranks to be the CDF. He trained in the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst in the UK where trained alongside King Abdullah II of Jordan.

In 2017, President Kenyatta appointed Gen Mwathethe to chair the Blue Economy implementation Committee.

Its mandate include co-coordinating and overseeing the implementation of the prioritized programmes and submit monthly reports to the President on the progress of implementation.

The activities of the Blue Economy include harvesting of living resources such as sea food and marine biotechnology, sea-bed mining, and generation of new resources such as energy and fresh water.

Kenya has only focused on fisheries both for domestic and export markets. In the last budget, Treasury allocated Sh575 million to aquaculture technology development as part of a strategy to revamp interest in the blue economy.

The Standard
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