General Samson Mwathethe (above) has been appointed the new Chief of Defence Forces by President Uhuru Kenyatta. Mwathethe replaces General Julius Karangi who is set to retire after serving in the force for more than four decades.
“General Dr Julius Waweru Karangi will commence the handover process starting next week pending retirement as Chief of Defence Forces after more than four decades of distinguished service to our country, the region and humankind,” President Uhuru Kenyatta stated on Friday.
On Thursday, Samrack.com reported General Mwathethe was set to replace Dr Karangi.
In other appointments, Lieutenant-General Joseph Kasaon was named the Vice-Chief of Defence Forces-designate.
The new appointments further saw Major-General Leonard Ngondi promoted to Lieutenant-General and appointed Kenya Army Commander-designate.
Born in Malindi, General Mwathethe went to Shimo la Tewa Primary school and Sacred Heart High School. He joined the Kenya Navy in 1978 and was commissioned as a seaman in 1980.
He attended Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth in the UK.
General Mwathethe also draws his experience from professional courses in the United Sates, UK, Italy and the National Defence College in Nairobi.
General Mwathethe, who served as Vice-Chief of Defence Forces, was also Kenya Navy Commander, Deputy Kenya Navy Commander, Base Commander and among other positions a Fleet Commander.
His experience also comes from his position as a Military Observer with the United Nations in Kuwait/Iraq and Yugoslavia in 1991 and 1992.
“His decorations include Distinguished Conduct Order (DCO) and Moran of the Burning Spear (MBS),” State House said.
Lieutenant-General Ngondi brings on board experience from the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) where he served as a Force Commander.
In his service in the armed forces for over 30 years he served as the General Officer Commanding Eastern Region.
He also served as Deputy Commandant of the Kenya Defence Staff College and a commanding officer of the Kenyan units in the UN Transition Assistance Group in Namibia in 1989 and the UN Mission in Sierra Leone in 2000.
“Ngondi was commissioned as a Lieutenant of the Infantry Corps from the Kenya Military Academy, Lanet, in 1979. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Nairobi and is a graduate of Kenya’s Staff and National Defence College,” State House indicated.
The changes in the military come amid a series of attacks on Kenya by Al Shabaab terrorists.
The latest attack was in Garissa about two weeks ago in which 148 people lost their lives with 142 of them being university students.
Whereas the country continues to debate if KDF should pull out of Somalia to stop the attacks, security forces have come under censure for their handling of the crisis.
The government has however indicated that KDF soldiers in Somalia will not withdraw.
During the appointments announced on Friday, Eugene Wamalwa of New FORD Kenya joined the Jubilee administration after he was nominated as the Cabinet Secretary for the newly established Ministry of Water and Irrigation Services.
The ministry brings the total number of ministries created in the Jubilee government to 17.
The Constitution of Kenya allows the government to have up to 22 ministries.
EUGENE WAMALWA IN, KIMEMIA OUT
THE president also sacked the experienced Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Kimemia who is being probed over graft allegations.
He also confirmed the hackneyed political vibe – that he is out to salvage his dwindling political fortunes in the opposition bastion of Western Kenya — with the nomination of former Justice minister Eugene Wamalwa as the new Cabinet Secretary for the newly created Ministry of Water and Irrigation.
“Cognisant of the need to focus attention on water as a driver of agricultural development, I have created a Ministry of Water and Irrigation Services,” said Kenyatta in a dispatch from State House late yesterday. Interior Principal Secretary Monica Juma, a career ambassador and former university lecturer, is Kimemia’s proposed replacement to the Cabinet office.
Kimemia, who is out temporarily pending investigations is the first casualty, and his proposed replacement is a pointer that Kenyatta does not want him back. See also: How to turn Kenya into regional manufacturing hub His dismissal comes just a week after Kimemia said the rampant insecurity was because of inexperience among managers of the country’s security.
Kimemia was a power broker in the administration of President Kibaki and people close to Kenyatta were not happy with him. The President has also seemingly militarised the Ministry of Interior by plucking Major General (retired) Gordon Kihalangwa from the helm of the Department of Immigration. This means the top two men at the Interior Ministry will be ex-military officers. Kihalangwa will help the Cabinet Secretary Major General (rtd) Joseph Nkaissery.
The youngest beneficiary in the changes is 39-year-old lawyer and communications professional Nzioka Waita, the current Director of Corporate Affairs at Safaricom. He has been appointed Secretary of Delivery in the Executive Office of the President. He said the changes were “part of the continued alignment of functions in my administration, and in order to enhance service delivery.