Gen Francis Ogolla took the oath of office on Saturday morning at State House on April 29, 2023, in Nairobi.
President Ruto announced Gen Ogolla’s promotion on Friday, April 28, in a changeup that saw the Air Force branch of the military take charge under a rotating system that sees the military command passed around all three branches of the defence forces.
Gen Robert Kibochi, Ogolla’s predecessor, was named CDF in May 2020 and held the position for the full four-year term.
Ruto declared during the swearing-in ceremony and rank investiture that he was confident he had chosen the best candidate for the position following weeks of internal deliberation.
“In considering your appointment, I assessed your background, where you come from, what you have done, and your journey in the military, and I am satisfied that you merit the office.”
“You have my confidence and the confidence of the government of Kenya to discharge your responsibilities in your new office,” said the President.
Ruto also challenged the incoming military leader to uphold the force’s professionalism and the regional standards set by the Kenya Defence Forces.
“It is my expectation that professional standards of the Kenyan military will be observed under your leadership. We do not expect to see ethnicity, bias, or anything other than professionalism,” the president said.
General Francis Ogolla served as vice chief of the defense forces prior to his appointment as CDF.
He enlisted in the Kenya Defense Forces on April 24, 1984.
The Four-Star General was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant and assigned to the Kenya Air Force n May 6, 1985.
Gen Ogolla trained as a fighter pilot with the USAF and as an instructor pilot with the Kenya Air Force (KAF).
He received training in a variety of other disciplines, such as counterterrorism, accident investigation, and image intelligence.
Francis Ogolla education
Gen Francis Ogolla is a graduate of the National Defense College of Kenya and the École Militaire de Paris.
He has a diploma from Egerton University in both international studies and military science.
Gen Ogolla has a bachelor’s degree with honors in Political Science and Studies of Armed Conflict and Peace from the University of Nairobi and a master’s degree in international studies from the University of Nairobi.
He rose through the ranks to Major General. Ogolla was named Kenya Air Force Commander on July 15, 2018, a position he has held for three years.
His prior positions in training, command, and staff included those of deputy commander of the Kenya Air Force and base commander of Laikipia Air Base.
He also served as commanding officer of the Tactical Fighter Wing, Chief Flying Instructor at the Kenya Air Force Flying Training School, and Operations Desk Officer at Kenya Air Force Headquarters.
In addition, from 1992 to 1993, he worked in the former Yugoslavia as an observer and military information officer.
From 1994 to 2004, he led the Military Christian Fellowship, and from 2018 to 2019, he co-led the Association of African Air Chiefs.
Gen Ogolla’s wife and children
Ogolla’s wife’s name is Aileen, and he is a father of two. He enjoys reading and golfing as hobbies.
Some security analysts had written off the chances of Gen Ogolla ascending to the CDF position due to his involvement in 2022 succession politics.
Gen Ogolla became embroiled in the electoral controversy between President Ruto and his main rival, Raila Odinga, in the run-up to the August 2022 elections.
Wafula Chebukati, the chairman of electoral commission, specifically said that Gen Francis Ogolla was among high-ranking members of the National Security Advisory Council (NSAC) and associates of Raila who visited him in an effort to persuade him to alter the results of the election.
Chebukati and IEBC commissioner Prof Abdi Guliye asserted in their affidavits submitted to the Supreme Court in the presidential suit that NSAC had stated that a decision against Odinga would throw the nation into anarchy.
They asserted that NSAC sent a team to Bomas, Kenya, which acted as the national tallying center, consisting of Gen Ogolla, a former Principal Administrative Secretary, a former solicitor general, Kennedy Ogeto, and a former police chief, Hillary Mutyambai.
In its reply affidavits, NSAC refuted the claims.
However, the organ acknowledged having met Chebukati on August 15 at the Bomas of Kenya.
Kihara, however, claimed that the NSAC team only traveled to Bomas to discuss security issues related to delays in the transmission of results for the presidential election.
The Supreme Court stated in its ruling that it could not reach a strong conclusion regarding the allegations.
Gen Ogolla age
Gen Ogolla takes office with his retirement only a few years away.
KDF Act (2012) stipulates that, a CDF shall resign after his tenure is completed or when he turns 62. Whichever comes first.
The Vice Chief of Defence Forces (VCDF) Lieutenant General Francis Ogolla has today visited troops operating under ‘Operation Maliza Uhalifu’ in the North Rift in a bid to boost the morale of the troops.https://t.co/xRvGhJFzJX pic.twitter.com/3Dew8Q24Ax
— Kenya Defence Forces (@kdfinfo) March 24, 2023
However, the commander-in-chief has the authority to order him to retire after reaching retirement age or extend his term.
Gen Ogolla’s successor
Kibochi and Gen Francis Ogolla came from the Army and the Air Force, respectively. The Kenya Navy will produce the next CDF, possibly in April 2027.
Major Gen Jimson Mutai is the highest-ranking member of the Kenya Navy and is poised to succeed Gen Ogolla.
Kenya’s military heads since independence
Gen Ogolla will become the 11th man to head the defence forces
Here’s a list of Francis Ogolla’s predecessors:
Major-General Benard Penfold (1966 to 1969),
Major-General Joseph Ndolo (1969 to 1971)
Generals Jackson Mulinge (1971–1986),
Mahamoud Mohamed (1986–1996),
Daudi Tonje (1996–2000),
Joseph Kibwana (2000–2005),
Jeremiah Kianga (2005–2011)
Julius Karangi (2011–2015),
Gen Mwathethe (2015–2020)
Robert Kibochi (2020–2023)
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Francis Ogolla’s tribe
Gen Francis Omondi Ogolla hails from the Luo tribe and was born in the former Nyanza Province.
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