President William Ruto, on Saturday, April 29, issued a stern warning to the newly appointed Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) Francis Ogolla to ensure national stability through diligence, neutrality and strict adherence to the rule of law.
During the swearing-in of top military officials appointed to new roles on Friday, April 28, Ruto stated that Ogolla must take up his responsibilities with honour that will bring the country together and help solve national challenges.
As the Commander-in-Chief, William Ruto directed Francis Ogolla to maintain KDF’s image, which they had over the years built through ethical conduct and decision-making.
He emphasized that Kenya has a tradition of a military that is professional, outstanding, and has integrity, and that serves not just the people of Kenya, but the region and the globe.
Further, Ruto warned the military against taking part in toxic ethnicity since such actions would only lead to anarchy and division in the country.
It is his expectation and that of the government of Kenya that we shall continue to see a military that serves the people of Kenya, and we do not expect to see ethnicity, bias, or any other consideration apart from professionalism.
The head of state expressed his confidence in Ogolla’s understanding of issues, particularly, the role of the military in nation-building. He promised to give the new Chief of Defence Forces maximum cooperation and support for him to lead Kenyan soldiers in protecting the integrity of the borders.
In considering Ogolla’s appointment, Ruto reviewed his background, journey in the military, and where he came from and was satisfied that he merited the office.
Ogolla replaced his boss and former Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) General Robert Kibochi, who retired after serving the country for over 44 years in various ranks and files.
Francis Ogolla’s Biography
Prior to his promotion and appointment on Friday, April 28, Ogolla was the Vice CDF, a position he held for more than four years. He has a rich background in the military, which spans over 35 years.
Francis Ogolla was born on January 1, 1963, in Siaya County, in a family of nine. He attended Nyamonye Primary School and later joined St. Mary’s Yala High School, where he completed his secondary education.
He then joined the Kenyan military, where he rose through the ranks, serving in various capacities. In his military career, Ogolla has served in various peacekeeping missions and operations, including the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
Ogolla’s Role in the 2022 General Election
After the August 2022 General Election, Ogolla had a run-in with the Kenya Kwanza administration, who accused him of being part of power brokers who wanted to overturn the people’s will and bar President William Ruto from assuming power.
The former Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati and the ex-commissioners Prof. Abdi Guliye and Moya Bolu faulted Ogolla and other members of the National Security Council (NSC) for reportedly interfering with the election.
However, Ogolla, through his lawyers, refuted the claims, noting that NSC members visited the Bomas of Kenya on the eve of the election as part of their security obligation.