Nairobi — President William Ruto now says he appointed General Francis Ogolla to the position of Chief of Defence Forces despite having been among the high-ranking individuals who attempted to overturn his 2022 presidential victory in Bomas of Kenya.
Ruto said Sunday in a joint media interview that he appointed Ogolla as the military chief based on his merit.
The Head of State said that he made the decision consciously against the advice of many people who had asked him to stop General Ogolla from succeeding former General Robert Kibochi who retired last month and to avoid “rewarding such kind of behavior.”
“I appointed General Ogolla, he is among the people who went to Bomas to try and overturn my victory. But because when I looked at his CV, he was the best person to be the General,” Ruto said.
President Ruto stated that he had the choice to appoint anybody into the CDF position noting that his appointment has nothing to do with him having been the Deputy CDF but “good track record.”
“I could have appointed anybody, I had I think 10 choices,” he added.
Before appointing Gen Ogolla, Ruto said that he called him and assured him that he would give him the job despite trying to sabotage his victory.
He adds that when he spoke to Gen Ogolla, the new CDF admitted to him having made a mistake and told him that he would respect his decision.
“He (Gen. Ogolla) told me I have no defense, you do with me whatever you want, I cannot defend, it was wrong, what I did was wrong,” Ruto adds.
The Head of State went on to say that he was also conscious that since independence, there was no one from Nyanza region who had risen to the rank of the CDF adding that, it played a part in his final decision adding that he did not want the “whole community to think they cannot occupy a certain office.”
“Many things that are part of my system overweighed the mistakes he (Ogolla) had done. I make very sensitive and deliberate appointments,” he added.
On April 29, when Ogolla assumed office as the new CDF, President Ruto pointed out that the government has confidence in him and his leadership of the military.
“In considering your appointment, I assessed your background, where you have come from, what you have done, your journey in the military, and I am satisfied that you merit the office and the confidence of the government of Kenya to discharge your responsibilities in your new office,” he said.
In August last year, immediate former Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati named Gen Ogola as among senior government officials who wanted to subvert the will of the people at the Bomas of Kenya during the announcement of the Presidential results.
Chebukati says about 10 am of the said date, the National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC) members went to see him alongside other commissioners at the national tallying center at Bomas, and asked him to ensure a run-off, if he couldn’t declare Raila Odinga as the outright winner in the 2022 presidential election.
In his affidavit, Chebukati named the General who was the VCDF at the time among the members of the NSAC delegation that were represented at the said meeting, including the Principal Administrative Secretary at the office of President Kennedy Kihara , former Solicitor General Kennedy Ogeto, former Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai .
In his narration, Chebukati stated that prior to the arrival of the team, he had received a call from the Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua informing him that he had sent a team that would like to discuss “assumption of office”.
The IEBC Chairman noted that the message was relayed by Kihara, who cautioned that if he declared William Ruto as the President-Elect, ‘the country is going to burn’
He proceeded to indicate that skirmishes between the Kikuyu and Luo communities had already started ‘in several slums including Kibera and Mathare’ on the basis of alleged ‘betrayal by the kikuyu’.
“The second part of the message from the NSAC delegation was that if we cannot announce Raila Odinga as the outright winner, then we must ensure that there is a runoff,” Chebukati submitted.