He Was The Best Man - What Ruto Said When Picking Francis Ogolla for KDF Job After 2022 Controversy

President William Ruto and late Chief of Defence Forces General Francis Ogolla moments after the later is confirmed as the CDF.

President William Ruto's appointment of General Francis Ogolla to replace the retired General Robert Kiboshi as Chief of Defense Forces on April 28, 2023, sparked controversy within his Kenya Kwanza coalition, compelling him to publicly defend his decision amid rising internal dissent.

During a May 2023 roundtable with journalists, President Ruto defended his decision, citing the late General Francis Ogolla’s credentials as the deciding factor in his appointment as CDF, despite Ogolla being implicated in efforts to undermine the 2022 presidential election results.

Despite these controversies, President Ruto explained his rationale: “General Ogolla is among the people who went to Bomas to try and overturn my victory. Do you know that? But because when I looked at his CV, he was the best person to be general.”

General Ogolla then 60, was elevated to a four-star general amid a chorus of dissent from within the ruling coalition.

Former IEBC Commissioner Wafula Chebukati briefing the media on election results at Bomas of Kenya on August 10, 2022.

This was exacerbated by accusations made by former Chairperson of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Wafula Chebukati, who stated that Ogolla was a member of a group of National Security Council members who attempted to manipulate the results of the election to favour Raila Odinga's victory or a runoff.

During the Supreme Court hearings of the 2022 presidential petition, Chebukati revealed that on the morning of the election result declaration, members of the National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC) approached him at the national tallying centre, demanding either a win for Odinga or a guaranteed runoff.

The NSAC delegation, as noted in Chebukati’s affidavit, included key figures such as Principal Administrative Secretary Kennedy Kihara, Solicitor General Kennedy Ogeto, Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai, and Lt. General Francis Omondi Ogolla, then Vice Chief of Defence.

The President argued his decision was not made lightly, as he acknowledged having other candidates for the position but chose Ogolla against the advice of many. “I could have appointed anybody. I had, I think, 10 choices,” Ruto stated.

He went on to narrate, “I called him, and I sat him down. I told him, my friend, you went to Bomas to try and overturn my victory. But because you are the best person to be general,  I'm going to give you the job.  That is how it works with me.”

In the defence of his pick, Ruto asserted that regional balance was playing in his mind with a keen awareness of historical ethnic representation within national roles.

“Since independence, there is nobody from Nyanza who has ever been CDF. And it also played in my mind that I don't want a situation where a whole community thinks they cannot occupy a certain office,” Ruto elaborated.

In his discussions with Ogolla, Ruto conveyed that the General admitted his actions at Bomas were indefensible, stating, “Many people told me you should not give this, I should not reward this kind of behaviour, but you know, I also must be sensitive. What exercised my mind was this gentleman,  yes, he may have made a mistake, maybe because the Commander In Chief at that time told him what to do. When I talked to him, he told me, “I have no defence”. You do with me whatever you want. I cannot defend it. It was wrong.”

President William Ruto.
President William Ruto.
  • .