How Ruto gave Ogolla CDF post as allies opposed

Friday, April 19th, 2024 03:15 | By
General Francis Ogolla when he presided over the final parade rehearsals for Madaraka Day celebrations held in Embu on May 31, 2023. PHOTO/Print
General Francis Ogolla when he presided over the final parade rehearsals for Madaraka Day celebrations held in Embu on May 31, 2023. PHOTO/Print

The late Chief of Defence Forces General Francis Ogolla hit the headlines after former Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chair Wafula Chebukati disclosed that he attempted to force him to declare Azimio La Umoja candidate Raila Odinga as the winner of the 2022 General Election or force a re-run.

While referring to the scenario, President William Ruto in May last year during a media interview revealed how he appointed Gen Ogolla against the wishes of close allies.

Ruto said he was under pressure from his loyalists not to appoint Ogolla because he had walked to Bomas of Kenya to try and overthrow his win after the elections.

During the televised interview, Ruto said he exercised magnanimity of leadership in the appointment of Ogolla despite his attempt to subvert his presidential victory.

The Commander in Chief said he ignored calls from his inner circle not to reward Ogolla but remained steadfast with his resolve to appoint him owing to his experience in security matters.

“His experience justified his being given the job. I appointed him on the dictates of the military traditions and order of doing things,” Ruto told journalists.

The President said he had over 10 choices to take over from General Robert Kibochi whose term at the helm was ending but he opted to pick Ogolla.

Overturn victory

“General Ogolla was among the people who tried to overturn my victory at Bomas. But when I looked at his CV, he was the best person to be the General. I called Mr Ogolla, sat him down, and told him. My friend, you went to Bomas to try and overturn my victory, but because you are the best person to be General, I am going to give you the job,” Ruto said.

He went on: “That’s how it works for me if the person has the qualifications, he is the best for the job, I give him the job. I could have appointed anybody, I had over 10 choices. There are people who say I appointed Ogolla because he was the deputy CDF. That is not the case. I made the decision consciously and against the advice of many people.”

Ruto said that Ogolla had a good track record and during the Bomas saga he could have blundered due to pressure from other quarters.

“When I spoke to him he told me he has no defence, you do with me whatever you want. I can defend, what I did was wrong,” the President explained.

He added; “There has nobody from Nyanza who has been CDF. I don’t want a situation where a whole community think that they cannot occupy a certain office. So many things that are part of my system overweighed the mistake he had made.”

President Ruto said he could have overruled military procedures over such an appointment as per the Tonje Rules but opted to go for competencies over other considerations that were being heaped on him.

After the 2022 General-Election, former IEBC Commissioner Abdi Guliye filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court in response to Raila Odinga’s Presidential petition.

Guliye said in the affidavit that Chebukati met a host of leaders affiliated with the Azimio la Umoja coalition on the morning of the day the Presidential results were declared.

Advisory Committee

He also claimed that the National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC) had warned Chebukati not to declare William Ruto as the president-elect.

Guliye alleged that NSAC was led by Lieutenant-General Francis Ogolla, then Vice-Chief of Defence Forces, Principal Administrate Secretary in the Office of the President Kennedy Kihara, former Solicitor General Kennedy Ogeto and former Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai.

Administrative engagements

General Ogolla ascended the helm of the Kenyan military after taking the oath of office at State House, Nairobi on April 29, last year succeeding General Kibochi whose term had ended.

Kibochi termed Ogolla as a part of his strategic team that ensured Kenya Defence Forces remained mission-ready in responding to diverse operational and administrative engagements.

On his part, Ogolla hailed his predecessor for his mentorship and called on the Kenyan soldiers to embrace modern security strategies to tackle the evolving national and global threats as part of their commitment to service.

Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale hailed Ogolla saying he had the requisite competency, training and leadership skills to take the military to higher heights regionally and globally.

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