PROFILE: Who was Kenya’s Chief of Defence Forces, Gen Francis Ogolla

Kenya's Chief of Defence Forces, General Francis Ogolla attending a recent event. He died on Thursday, April 18, 2024 in a chopper crash.

Nairobi, (KE):- The Republic of Kenya is still coming to terms with the untimely death of the country’s Chief of Defence Forces General Francis Ogolla.

Gen Ogolla was confirmed dead following a chopper crash in Kaben, Marakwet East on Thursday.

The late General was named the new Chief of Defence Forces in changes in the military in April 2023.

He took over from General Robert Kibochi who departed after attaining the mandatory exit age of 62. Before the appointment, General Ogolla was the Vice Chief of the Defence Forces.

Military Education and Experience

Gen Ogolla was a graduate of ÉcoleMilitaire de Paris and the National Defence College of Kenya.

He graduated with a Diploma in International Studies and Military Science from Egerton University, a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Armed Conflict and Peace Studies (First Class Honors) and a Master of Arts in International Studies from the University of Nairobi.

He rose through the ranks to become a Major General and was appointed the Commander of Kenya Air Force on July 15, 2018, a post he has served for three years.

Previously he held various appointments in Training, Command and Staff including Deputy Commander at Kenya Air Force, Base Commander at Laikipia Air Base and Commanding Officer of Tactical Fighter Wing.

Other positions were Chief Flying Instructor at Kenya Air Force Flying Training School and Operations Desk Officer at Kenya Air Force Headquarters.

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He also served in the former Yugoslavia as an Observer and Military Information Officer from 1992 to 1993, as chairman of the Military Christian Fellowship from 1994 to 2004 and as co-chair of the Association of African Air Chiefs between 2018 and 2019.

Serving his country

As CDF, the highest-ranking military officer in the Kenya Defence Forces and the principal military adviser to the President of Kenya and the National Security Council, Ogolla led the meetings and coordinated the efforts of the Service Commander, comprising the CDF, the Commander of the Kenya Army and Kenya Air Force, the Kenya Navy and the Commandant of Military Intelligence. 

President William Ruto explained why he picked Ogolla as the new Chief of Defence Forces (CDF).

According to Ruto, Ogolla’s experience spanning over 39 years saw him promoted to the high office in the country’s military to replace Robert Kibochi who has retired.

“In considering your appointment, I assessed your background, where you have come from, what you have done, and your journey in the military, and I am satisfied that you made it to the office,” Ruto said then.

When he took over Gen Ogolla shouted his mission saying he would be “one force one mission.”

“My clarion call is for one force, one mission. We shall be one force knit together with one purpose of providing Defence and remaining true to our motto of Ulinzi Daima,” he said.

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As part of his mission, he said he will continue working closely with other security agencies within a broader multi-agency framework for the safety, security and stability of the country and its people for sustainable economic development and prosperity.

Personal life

Ogolla was happily married to his beautiful wife Aileen Ogolla and blessed with two children and a grandson.  His hobbies included reading and playing golf, among others.

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