Uhuru appoints Peter Njiru as Kenya Army commander in new changes

Uhuru also promoted his bodyguard Timothy Stelu from colonel to brigadier rank.

In Summary

• Njiru's promotion and appointment comes after the retirement of Lieutenant General Walter Koipaton.

• Brigadier Fredrick Leuria was a promoted to Major General and appointed as an Assistance Chief of Defence Forces.

President Uhuru Kenyatta at a past military event
Image: FILE

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday appointed Lieutenant General Peter Mbogo Njiru as Kenya Army Commander.

Njiru's promotion and appointment come after the retirement of Lieutenant General Walter Koipaton.

Koipaton has served for four tours, after his appointment on July 13, 2018.

Mbogo has served as an Aide-de-Camp to both the late President Mwai Kibaki and Uhuru. He served Uhuru for four years.

The president announced the changes following a meeting by Board One in the military earlier on.

Lt Gen Njiru had last year been posted to defence staff college and appointed commander.

Lt Gen Adan Mulata retired two weeks ago from defence headquarters.

The board promoted five officers of the rank of brigadier to Maj General.

Maj Gen David Tarus was promoted and named the General officer command of Western Command to replace Maj Gen Joseph Kivunzi who retired.

Maj Gen Juma Shee Mwinyikai was appointed the new Commander of East Command to replace Maj Gen Ayub Matiri who was in April named the Kenyan ambassador to Egypt.

Maj Gen Fredrick Leuria was named the assistant chief of defence forces in charge of operations, plans, doctrine and training.

Maj Gen Mungai Nyaga was named the force commander of the East African Community regional force for DRC. Maj Gen Bernard Waliaula was named the director of defence national security industry. 

Sixteen officers of the rank of colonel were promoted to the rank of brigadier.

They include Brig William Kamoiro was named the commander of the second brigade, Brig Ahmed Mohamed Saman appointed commander special operations brigade, Brig Muirungi was appointed commandant of Recruit Training School and Brig Joseph Mokwena was appointed the chief of systems defence headquarters.

Uhuru also promoted his bodyguard Timothy Stelu from colonel to brigadier rank.

Brig David Chesire was appointed commandant of eight brigades while the acting director of Asset Recovery Brig Alice Mate was also promoted and will remain in the legal branch at defence headquarters.

Brig David Kimeli was appointed the chief medical officer at Isiolo Hospital while Brig Charles Ndirangu will be the managing director defence forces food processing factory.

Brig Mohamed Salah Farah was appointed the base commander of Laikipia Air Base while Brig Dahir Ali was appointed principal defence forces technical college and Brig Justino Mutisya Muinde appointed chief medical officer Eldoret regional hospital.

Brig Apolo Ogolla Aloka was appointed senior directing staff air National Defence College, Brig Hillary Biwott Kipkosgey was appointed director of Kenya Space Agency.

Former Kenya Defence Forces spokesperson Brig Ziporah Kioko Kalondu was appointed chief of strategic communication at defence headquarters, Brig John Wekesa Khaoya was appointed chief of welfare and compensation at defence headquarters while Uhuru’s ADC Brig Timothy Lekolool was promoted to the rank but will remain with the president.

A statement from the department of defence said there were more changes across the military as per the defence council.

The changes still leave room for speculations on who the possible next Chief of Defence Forces.

The fact that the current Vice of Chief of Defence Forces Lt Gen Francis Ogolla was not touched he still remains a possible candidate for the position.

The other candidate is Lt Gen Mohamed Badi of the Nairobi Metropolitan Service.

The next CDF is likely to be from the Kenya Airforce. If any, Kenya Airforce commander Maj Gen John Omenda has to be promoted to the rank of Lt Gen for him to be in the line of succeeding Gen Robert Kibochi whose term will end next year. Under the rules introduced by retired Chief of General Staff Gen Daudi Tonje — adopted and known as the Tonje Rules — the position of the CDF is rotated among the three services.

These are Kenya Army, Kenya Air Force and Kenya Navy.

Gen Kibochi is from the Kenya Army and his predecessor, Gen Samson Mwathethe, was from the Kenya Navy.

This means that the next CDF must come from the Kenya Air Force.

Both Ogolla and Badi are Air Force veterans and now the senior most officers with the title Lieutenant General.

In the military, you don’t skip ranks.

Lt Gen Njiru will now join the Assumption of the Office of the President Committee to manage the succession of president Kenyatta.

Apart from Omenda, the other service commanders are Kenya Army Commander Lt Gen Njiru and Kenya Navy Commander Maj Gen Jimson Mutai Apart from the CDF, other members of the Assumption of the Office of the President Committee are the Director of NIS, PS Interior, Inspector General of Police, the Attorney General, State House Comptroller as well as PSs for Foreign Affairs, Finance and ICT.

Others are two clerks of the bicameral Parliament and the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary.

The team is chaired by the Secretary of the Cabinet.

Part of the mandate of the committee is to organise for the security of the president-elect.

They also coordinate the briefings of the president-elect by key public officers and facilitate communication between the outgoing president and the president-elect.

The Kenya Defence Forces Act says a CDF, his deputy and service commanders shall serve a single term of four years or retire upon attaining the mandatory retirement age.

The Act also says the president may, on the recommendation of the National Defence Council, which is also known as Board One, extend the CDF’s term for not more than one year in times of war or emergencies, such as political uncertainty.

A general is supposed to retire at age 62, a Lt Gen at 61, a Maj Gen at 59 and a Brigadier at 57 years.

However, the law contains a clause about generals: "The maximum retirement age shall be amended from time to time through legislation on the recommendation by the Defence Council.

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