President William Ruto changes his Aide-de-Camp

Colonel Fabian Lengusuranga (in military uniform) is President William Ruto’s new Aide-de-Camp. [Standard]

Colonel Fabian Lengusuranga of the Kenya Army has succeeded Timothy Lekolool as President William Ruto’s Aide-De-Camp.

Brigadier Lekolool, who previously served as President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Aide-de-Camp between July 2018 and September 2022, has now been deployed to the Department of Defence (DoD) Headquarters in Nairobi.

Emmanuel Tallam, President Ruto’s senior communications aide, said the new Aide-de-Camp will be assisted by Lieutenant-Colonel Damaris Agnetta, also from the Kenya Army.

Agnetta takes over from Lieutenant-Colonel Rachel Nduta of the Kenya Air Force, who has been promoted to the rank of Colonel, and deployed to the Department of Defence Headquarters.

Colonel Fabian Lengusuranga, the new ADC, joined the army in 1999. He has served as senior special forces branch commander.

The second ADC, Damaris Agnetta, was commissioned in 2003, and has been serving as the artillery officer. She has also served in the United Nations Military Observer Mission.

Colonel Fabian Lengusuranga’s first assignment was on Tuesday, October 4, when he accompanied President William Ruto to Mathira, Nyeri County for the burial of Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua’s elder brother Jack Reriani.

Reriani died on September 24.

According to a family member who spoke to The Standard, Reriani fell ill at his Mathira home in Nyeri County, and was taken to Jamii Hospital in Karatina, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

How an Aide-de-Camp is picked

A president has the liberty to choose his or her Aide-De-Camp.

The serviceperson has to be a member of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF).

Contrary to popular belief, the Aide-de-Camp is not a bodyguard or personal assistant to the Head of State.

Colonel Esther Wanjiku, the spokesperson of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), says the Aide-De-Camp is “a principal military officer serving the president”.

“The Aide-De-Camp’s roles include managing the president’s diary and liaising with his or her main security team,” Wanjiku told The Standard.

“The Defence Council can propose an Aide-de-Camp to the president, who has the last say on his preferred serviceman for the role,” she added.

When foreign presidents visit Kenya, the KDF proposes servicepersons who would serve as Aides-De-Camp to the leaders.

The Kenyan Aides-De-Camp would work closely with the visiting Heads of State’s military team.

Functions of Aide-De-Camp

“Aide-De-Camp” is a term borrowed from the French language.

Its literal meaning is “helper in the military camp”.

The holder of the position serves as an aide to a VVIP, in most cases a Head of State or Monarch.

An ADC is a highly-trained senior military officer, who is required to be part of the president’s itinerary at all times.

The holder of the position mostly performs ceremonial duties.

Besides the ceremonial tasks such as standing behind the president and opening car doors for the Head of State, an Aide-De-Camp in Kenya has other duties.

For instance, during Uhuru Kenyatta’s tenure, Lekolool was the detail leader, assistant detail leader, tactical commander, motorcade lead, advance lead, mobile agent, static agent and protective intelligence agent.

Simiyu Werunga, the Executive Director for Geneva Centre for Africa Security, told The Standard that all Kenyan Aides-De-Camp held at least the rank of Colonel.

“Unlike the position of the Chief of Defence Forces, which rotates among senior military officers of the Kenya Navy, Kenya Air Force or the Kenya Army, the Aide De Camp’s background is immaterial when the president is selecting the serviceman for that position,” said Werunga.

“A new president can choose to retain the current ADC, or appoint a new one altogether.”

Werunga further said that it’s the responsibility of the Defence Council to propose ADCs to new presidents.