A 4-Star Career Rating: The Life And Times Of Late Kenya’s KDF General Francis Ogolla

Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) Francis Ogolla tragically perished in a helicopter accident in the Sindar area of Elgeyo Marakwet County. His demise comes just a year after assuming the esteemed position.

President William Ruto elevated General Ogolla to the rank of General and appointed him as the head of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) in April of the preceding year. He succeeded General Robert Kibochi, who retired upon reaching the mandatory exit age of 62.

General Ogolla’s selection followed the principles of the ‘Tonje Rules,’ a rotational framework guiding the appointment of the CDF. President Ruto’s decision to nominate Ogolla, then serving as the Kenya Air Force Commander, was in line with this protocol. It was incumbent upon him to appoint Ogolla, as General Kibochi, his predecessor, hailed from the Army, having succeeded General Samson Mwathethe from the Navy.

Born on February 12, 1962, in Siaya County, General Ogolla commenced his military journey by graduating as a cadet from the KDF on May 2, 1984. Rising to the rank of second lieutenant within a year, he was stationed at the Moi Air Base, where he underwent pilot training.

Prior to assuming the role of CDF, General Ogolla held various high-ranking positions within the KDF. These include serving as the Commanding Officer of Laikipia Air Base Tactical Flight Wing in 2007 and later as the Base Commander of Laikipia Air Base from 2008 to 2014. His promotions were notable milestones in his career; he was elevated to Brigadier on April 10, 2012, and subsequently appointed as the Deputy Air Force Commander. On July 13, 2018, he advanced to the rank of Major General and assumed the role of Commander of the Kenya Air Force.

Further recognition of his expertise came with his promotion to Lieutenant General on July 23, 2021, when he was appointed as the Vice Chief of the Defence Forces. He held this position until April 28, 2023, when President Ruto bestowed upon him the rank of General and entrusted him with the responsibilities of the Chief of the Defence Forces.

In addition to his military training, General Ogolla pursued higher education, earning a diploma in International Studies and Military Science from Egerton University. He furthered his academic pursuits with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Armed Conflict, and Peace Studies, as well as a Masters of Arts in International Studies from the University of Nairobi.

Throughout his illustrious career, General Ogolla received numerous accolades, including presidential awards such as the Moran of the Golden Heart (MGH), Elder of the Burning Spear (EBS), and a Head of State Commendation. His dedication and service to the nation will be remembered and honored by all.