KDF: Change of guard as Gen. Mwathethe retires, Kibochi takes charge

by David Karani

General Robert Kibochi too charge at the Kenya Defence Forces as his predecessor General Samson Mwathethe bowed out in an elaborate farewell ceremony at the Kenya Army Headquarters, Nairobi.

General Mwathethe who has served for four years at the helm of the military including a one year extension was received by Army Commander Lieutenant General Walter Raria.

The ceremony witnessed General Mwathethe who comes from the Kenya Navy exchange the KDF flag with General Kibochi. This was followed by a 17- gun salute for the out-going CDF to honour him for his selfless service to the country.

To show is exit from the military, Mwathethe was pulled out from Ulinzi House in a military jeep. This is a ceremony, that marks the end of service of a general.

General Robert Kibochi will be sworn in on Monday, 12, May 2020 at State House, Nairobi. The ceremony will be attended by President Uhuru Kenyatta, top generals and senior civil servants. 

The CDF position is a rotational office in Kenya’s military. At least for the three generals who have taken the baton of leadership.General Kibochi, who is the incoming CDF is drawn from the Kenya Army. Gen. Mwathethe is from the Kenya Navy while Julius Karangi,  Mwathethe’s predecessor, did his service under the Air Force.

A book, War For Peace, edited by military officers was also launched. “The book delves into the unfinished agendum of Amisom’s coming exit — and what it means for Kenya. It is a worthy tribute to our soldiers who fought and even paid the ultimate price and an invaluable read for students, experts and practitioners of military history and strategy,”  writes General Mwathethe.

The retiring CDF leaves the military with his head high knowing he has left a stable institution having served his entire term when the country was and is still at war in Somalia to contain Al-Shabaab terrorism.

He rebuilt the counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism strategy of Kenya, which seeks to move the military from kinetic engagement to soft power.

Further, he introduced the concept of soft power in which the military is moving out to speak to radicalised youth and radical Muslim leaders about the dangers of violent extremism.

Mwathethe has held various command positions as the VCDF, Navy Commander, Deputy Navy Commander and Navy logistics commander.

In 2018, President Uhuru appointed him to chair the Blue Economy implementation committee. Under his leadership, incidents of piracy were reduced at the Indian Ocean and the military expanded by constructing a number of support Units.

Modika barracks that has been under construction at Garissa and was commissioned in December 2019. The Barrack is home to 6th Brigade. In the same year, the Kenya Army established 17 Kenya Rifles a new Unit which received its Presidential and Regimental Colors during the Jamhuri day celebrations.s.

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