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Ruto: How I settled on General Francis Ogolla as CDF

 President William Ruto during the memorial service of CDF General Francis Ogolla at Ulinzi Sports Complex in Nairobi. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

General Francis Omondi Ogolla’s name was not on the list of potential Chiefs of Defence Forces, when President William Ruto assumed office in September 2022.

The circumstances leading up to the declaration of the presidential poll winner during the August 2022 General Election would complicate his chances further.

Ruto, on Saturday, April 20, revealed the happenings of August 15, 2022, while paying tribute to the fallen General at Ulinzi Sports Complex in Lang’ata, Nairobi.

“When it came time for me to decide on the next CDF, it wasn’t easy. All the recommendations that I got for the next CDF did not include the name of General Ogolla. But he was a military officer with a distinguished career,” he said.

The Head of State would then invite General Ogolla for a private meeting after the Bomas chaos.

Ruto revealed that Gen.Ogolla admitted to visiting the Bomas of Kenya on the night of August 15, a night etched into the minds of many Kenyans, for what would transpire the next few hours.

After their “one-on-one” talk, General Ogolla offered to either be court-martialed, allowed to retire, or forgiven.

“There was only one problem, the events of August 15, 2022, at Bomas. I asked Ogolla for a meeting, a one-on-one meeting. The General told me the following; I have no defence, I will not try to defend myself. It was wrong what happened, and you have three choices. Either send me to court-martial, have me retire, or forgive me,” explained Ruto.

But after giving it thought, President Ruto decided he would stick with General Ogolla as his Chief of Defence Forces, despite his advisors not tabling his [Gen. Ogolla’s] name.

Ruto said his decision was merely based on merit.

“I had made a conscious deliberate decision that we were to go by merit, professionalism, and proficiency, before community. And that is how I decided General Ogolla was going to continue being CDF. It is an appointment I am proud of,” he said.

On the night of the said August 15, the events that followed would include a desperate call from close kin of the former electoral commission chair, a troop of clergymen, a planned hit on the chair at Bomas, and a botched plan to flood the auditorium with confusion before the winner of the presidential poll was announced.

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