President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday, April 30, announced that he has appointed General Robert Kibochi to the position of Chief of Defence Forces, replacing General Samson Jefwa Mwathethe at the rank.
General Mwathethe, who held the position since 2015, is proceeding on retirement.
Kibochi, who succeeds Mwathethe officially on May 11, was the vice Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces following his elevation and appointment on July 13, 2018. Kibochi, 60, has been a military man since 1979.
Below is President Kenyatta’s full statement dated April 30:
“I take this opportunity to thank you, Gen. Samson Jefwa Mwathethe, EGH, MBS, DCO, NDC (K), PSC’(uk), for the exemplary service you have rendered to our country, in your capacity as the Chief of Defence Forces.
“Since your appointment as the Chief of Defence Forces five years ago (May 2015), 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.
“Let me also say that during your tenure, you proved that you are not just a military man, but a well-rounded person, with the capacity to provide quality leadership in other initiatives of national importance. In this regard, I am proud to state that as chair, you steered very well the “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.
“Following the impending retirement of Gen. Mwathethe, I have promoted the following officers:-
- Lt General Robert Kibochi to General;
- Major General Levi Mghalu to Lt. General; and
- Brigadier Jimson Mutai to Major General.
“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 designate;
- Lt. Gen. Levi Mghalu to Vice Chief of Defence Forces designate; and
- Maj. Gen. Jimson Mutai to Commander of the Kenya Navy designate.
“The officers are expected to assume office under their new positions, on May 11, 2020.
“Finally, let me say, 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.
“Thank You and God Bless You.”
Who is General Kibochi?
Lieutenant General Robert Kariuki Kibochi is the current Vice Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces following his elevation and appointment on July 13, 2018.
Lt Gen R K Kibochi was enlisted into the Kenya Defence Forces on 18 May 1979 and underwent Officer Cadets Training until 30 March 1980 and commissioned in the rank of Second Lieutenant and posted to Signals Battalion.
He has held various command and staff appointments including his immediate former appointment as Commander of the Kenya Army, Assistant Chief of Defence Forces in charge of Operations, Plans, Doctrine and Training at Defence Headquarters (DHQ), Chief of Strategic Plans and Policy, Director International Peace Support Training Centre, Col Operations Requirements (CIS) and Commander Corps of Signals.
Other appointments held include Chief of Staff at the Eastern Africa Standby Force, SO1 Records at Headquarter Kenya Army (HQ KA), SO1 Comms HQ KA, SO1 Mobilization DHQ, SO1 Comms CIS DHQ and SOII Operations and Training at the HQ of the Corps of Signals.
Lt. Gen. Kibochi has earned Master’s Degree of Arts in International Studies, Master’s Degree in Computer Based Information Systems, Bachelors of Technology in Communication and Electronics Engineering, and is currently pursuing PhD degree in Peace and Conflict Management.
His other professional training include National Security Studies at the National Defence College (Kenya). Army Command and Staff Course (UK), Overseas Telecoms Engineering Course (UK), Signal Officers Degree Telecommunications Engineering Course (India), Sub Unit Commanders Course, Platoon Commanders Course, Regimental Signal Officers Course among other training courses.
He served with the United Nations as Commander of Kenyan Contingent in the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) from 2000 – 2001; while his decorations include Moran of the Order of the Golden Heart (MGH) and Chief of the Order of the Burning Spear (CBS) among others.
Lt. Gen Kibochi was born in Nakuru on 15 August 1959. He is married to Tabitha and blessed with four daughters and a grandson.