By Samuel Ouma
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday, April 30 appointed Lieutenant General Robert Kibochi as the new Chief of Kenya Defence Forces.
Gen. Kibochi, who has been in the military for 39 years, is the successor of the outgoing Gen. Samson Jefwa Mwathethe.
“Further to these promotions and in line with the recommendation by the Defence Council, I have today made the following appointments; Gen Robert Kibochi to Chief of Defence Forces,” read the statement released by the State House.
Kibochi is a master hold in International Studies and is currently pursuing a PhD in conflict management. 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 also led the Kenyan group in the UN mission in Sierra Leone from 2000 to 2001.
The Chief of Defence Forces serves one term of four years but the President can decide to extend his stay in the office by one year. Retiring Gen. Mwathethe has been at the helm of the Kenya Defence Forces since 2015. He was set to retire in 2019 but the Head of the State extended his stay for a year.
President Kenyatta praised the departing General for his exemplary services he offered to the country during his tenure.
“We have seen significant expansion in our military and enviable improvement in the defence capability of our forces; thus giving Kenyans confidence that their borders are well protected from any external aggression. During your tenure, we detected and expunge early enough a number of plans by those who do not mean well for our country, in good time,” said the President.
Gen. Mwathethe helped the country realized her economic growth while serving as chair Blue Economy Implementation Standing Committee.
“The Committee has made substantive progress in re-establishing the Kenya National Shipping Line, as part of the Blue Economy Programme. Once fully completed and operational, this will, indeed, enable us, as a country, exploit the potential we have in the blue economy, and consequently create thousands of jobs for our young men and women. It is my hope that you and I will continue collaborate in this effort,” he added.
President Kenyatta also appointed Lieutenant Gen. Levi Mghalu as the Vice Chair of Defence Forces and Major General Jimson the new Commander of Kenya Navy.
They will take over on May 11.
After the announcement, delighted Kenyans took it to the social media showering the President, the incoming and the outgoing Chiefs of the Kenya Defence Forces with praises.
“The Commander In Chief of all the Armed Forces of Kenya His Excellency Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta has spoken. We are listening to you Sir,” said Arap Mugo James.
“Unsung heroes, Silent Heroes being rewarded, Congratulations to all that have been appointed,” reiterated Immaculate Wa Harrier.
Francis Mwenja posted, “I am very proud with how you steered very well the “Blue Economy Implementation Standing Committee”. … leadership from services.”
“Brilliant soldiers give us hope for a better tomorrow, each day,” noted Festus Njau.
“I saw alot of respect, humility, hardwork and tolerance in General mathethe. I’ll miss his humility. GOD bless him in his other assignments,” said Makenzy Koech.
Shebby Adhiambo said, “Thank you commander in chief of the defence forces. Bravo the appointees!”