Defense Minister Aden Duale clears General Ogolla's name from Bomas intrigues

Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale. [PSC, Standard]

Claims that top security officials went to the tallying centre at Bomas on August 15, 2022, as the country awaited election results reemerged Sunday at the burial of General Francis Ogolla.

Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale told mourners that Ogolla was ordered by his superiors to go to Bomas.

Ogolla, according to the CS, had been directed to attend the National Security Advisory Council (NSAC), which he was not a member of, and later go to Bomas.

The CS revealed that Ogolla had confided in him that the Bomas fiasco was weighing him down to the extent he was losing weight.

Duale removed the blame from the General and laid it on the then-members of NSAC.

“General Ogolla was not a member of the National Security Advisory Committee which is chaired by the head of Public Service. So how did he go to NSAC and to Bomas? He shared with me the text messages of his superiors and members of the National Security Committee where he asked questions over his deployment three to four times,” Duale said.

During a joint media interview at State House in 2023, President William Ruto said that he appointed Ogolla despite his attempt to overturn his victory.

Dr Ruto said he elevated Ogolla to the position of Chief of Defence Forces due to his qualifications despite his advisors being against it.

“General Ogolla is among the people who went to Bomas to try and overturn my victory, but because when I looked at his CV, he was the best person to be General. Many things that are part of my system overweighed what he had done,” Ruto said then.

Addressing a ceremony held to commemorate Ogolla on Saturday, Azimio leader Raila urged President Ruto to dispel any allegations linking the General to electoral interference.

“As we lay Ogolla to rest, I want us to remove the stigma, Your Excellency, because I knew this man well. General Ogolla would never have contemplated or thought about going to Bomas of Kenya to force Mr Chebukati to alter the election results. So we want this to be removed as we lay him to rest,” said Raila.

During the General’s burial yesterday Nyanza politicians led by Siaya Governor James Orengo and Alego Usonga MP Samuel Atandi defended Ogolla.

According to Orengo, Ogolla never associated with political issues and could make his stand clear.

He said there was no way he could have been involved in a plot to pressurise the electoral commission to alter results.

“Let General Ogolla not be buried in doubt. I was at the Bomas of Kenya even though I was not an agent but I managed to go there,” said Orengo.

“The lingering doubt is that there is an allegation that General Ogolla went at the Bomas to try and change the election. If you accuse Orengo I can plead guilty it would be a reasonable accusation but not General Ogolla. The way I know him and I have gone to see him on political issues he would tell me if it is that wachana nayo (leave it),” 

Atandi revealed how Ogolla lectured him for two hours after he called him pleading with him to sponsor his campaigns.

“I thought I was going to get some money for campaigns... instead he gave me two hours of lecture about the code of conduct of the military that the military is apolitical meaning that even his personal resources which he earns in the military can’t be used for politics.

“That is why when there was this debate that the General was trying to engage in espionage I could not believe it. I want this to go on record that Ogolla could not be engaged on that,” said Atandi.

According to Duale, Ogolla showed him a message where he was tasked to represent his boss, the CDF then Robert Kibochi, at the NSAC. Kibochi had other commitments. 

“It was at the NSAC where he was given directions to go to Bomas and when he asked what his mission was, he was told that it had been decided for him to go. He told me that when he went to Bomas, the former IEBC chairperson kept them for five hours,” Duale said.

The Cs claimed that he held a meeting with the late Ogolla for three hours at his house and when he was convinced that Ogolla was only used by his bosses, he relayed the same to the president and that is how he was appointed as the CDF.

He however revealed that to prevent such scenarios in future, the president, being the NSAC chairperson, has directed that NSAC members will never again delegate attendance of meetings to their juniors. NSAC members include the Inspector General of Police, Head of Public Service, Principal Secretaries for Interior, Defence, Treasury and Foreign Affairs, and Solicitor General.

He said most of the members of Kenya Kwanza administration were opposed to Ogolla’s appointment because of the Bomas fiasco but said the president considered Ogolla’s credentials.

Before the Kenya Kwanza administration change of tune, Duale was among leaders who had vowed to take action against Ogolla “for trying to force the IEBC chairperson to moderate the presidential election result”.

On October 17, 2022, during the vetting of cabinet secretary nominees in Parliament, Duale while responding to Belgut MP Nelson Koech likened the Bomas fiasco to the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Congress by supporters of retired President Donald Trump.

He said security agencies have no place in the democratisation and in the election of the country.

“Our military has largely been respected because of the way we operate. But there was an incident during the last election. There is an allegation that one senior military officer was involved in trying to moderate the election. It is something that doesn’t augur well with the military. We want to find out from you so that in future we do not have such incidents where military officers are used to execute political assignments,” Koech said.

The CS responded: “The military has a place under Article 241 Kenya Defence Forces Act. They have a place under the KDF Act and the military and our security agencies have no place in the democratization and in the election of our country. I don’t want to be very fair to the gentleman who was there but from my reading of the constitution I think that it was not only him, and his colleagues who went there that is similar to what happened in the US, the Capitol Hill invasion. That was an affront to democracy. You cannot circumvent the will of the people. The will of the people must be respected.”

Chebukati in his presentation to the Supreme Court during the hearing of the presidential petition claimed that Ogolla with other members of the then National Security Advisory Committee visited him at the IEBC national tallying centre at the Bomas of Kenya and asked him to moderate the presidential election result.

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