Uhuru appoints Robert Kibochi to succeed Samson Mwathethe

The then Vice Chief of Defence Forces Robert Kibochi addresses journalists at the Department of Defence offices in Nairobi on November 19, 2018 during the Launch of the Kenya Defence Forces recruitment drive.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has appointed General Robert Kibochi as the new Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) to replace the retiring Gen Samson Jefwa Mwathethe.

An army veteran of 39 years, Gen. Kibochi will officially take over on May 11 and will be in office when the country holds the 2022 general election.

Announcing military changes on Thursday, President Kenyatta also promoted Major General Levi Mghalu to Lieutenant General and appointed him the Vice Chief of Defence Forces.

Brigadier Jimson Mutai was promoted to Major General and appointed the Commander of the Kenya Navy. He is the outgoing Base Commander at Mtongwe Navy Base.

The President said, “I look forward to working with these officers closely in service to our motherland. For you, General Mwathethe, I wish you fair winds following seas; and the very best in your future endeavours.”


Gen. Kibochi had been the Vice Chief of Defence Forces since 2018.

He previously served as Commander of the Kenya Army and the Assistant Chief of Defence Forces in charge of Operations, Plans, Doctrine and Training.

He commanded the Kenyan contingent in the UN Mission to Sierra Leone from 2000 to 2001.

Gen. Kibochi holds a Master’s degree in International Studies and is currently pursuing a PhD in conflict management.


The position of CDF rotates among the three military disciplines; Kenya Army, Kenya Air Force and the Kenya Navy,.

The officers holders serve one term of four years but with a possible extension by a year at the pleasure of the Commander in Chief.

Having been appointed in 2015, Gen. Mwathethe ought to have retired in 2019 but President Kenyatta extended his term for a year.

Gen. Mwathethe was from the Kenya Navy while his predecessor Gen. Julius Karangi was from the Kenya Air Force, therefore Gen. Kibochi’s successor will be from the Navy


President Kenyatta also appointed three deputy service commanders including Major Gen. Albert Kendagor, who has been posted to the Kenya Army headquarters and appointed its Deputy Commander.

The others are Brigadier John Omenda, who has been posted to the Kenya Air Force headquarters and appointed Deputy Commander, and Brigadier Lawrence Gituma who will be Kenya Navy’s Deputy Commander.

The new deputy service commanders are Major General Albert Kendagor (Kenya Army),  Brigadier Lawrence Gituma (Kenya Navy) and Brigadier John Omenda, who takes over as the second-in-command at the Kenya Air Force.

The Air Force has been without a deputy commander since the retirement of Brigadier Simon Wachira in September last year.


The President also promoted several officers from Brigadier to Major General and gave them new appointments.

They include William Shume (Border Security Command), Peter Njiru (Commandant Kenya Military Academy), Charles Kahariri (Senior Directing Staff Maritime National Defence College) and Rashid Elmi (Senior Directing Staff Air National Defence College).

Colonel Maroa Gati was promoted to Brigadier and appointed Commandant Recruits Training School while Col. (Dr) Milton Obilo was promoted to Brigadier and appointed Chief of Medical Services at the Defence headquarters.

Major Gen Thomas Chepkuto was posted to Super Pool while on secondment to Diplomatic Service and Brigadier Joakim Mwamburi appointed the Commandant, School of Infantry.

Brigadier Godfrey Buluma was appointed the Commandant of the Defence Forces Memorial.

Brigadier William Kombe was posted to Super Pool while on secondment to Diplomatic Service while Brigadier Dennis Kamuri was named the Deputy Managing Director of the Kenya Ordnance Factories Corporation.


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