Chief of Defence Forces (Kenya)

The Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) is 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. The CDF outranks all respective heads of each service branch and has operational command authority over the service branches. He leads the meetings and coordinates the efforts of the Service Commander, comprising the CDF, the Commander of the Kenya Army and Kenya Air Force, Kenya Navy and the Commandant of Military Intelligence. The CDF has offices in Ulinzi House. Following the 2010 Constitution, the Chief of the General Staff was replaced with the Chief of the Defence Forces.[1]

Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces
Flag of the Kenya Defence Forces.svg
Standard of the Kenya Defence Forces
Robert Kariuki Kibochi

since 11 May 2020
National Security Council
Member ofKenya Defence Forces
Reports toPresident of Kenya
ResidenceUlinzi House
SeatUlinzi House
NominatorDefence Council
AppointerPresident of Kenya
Term lengthServe a single term of four (4) years or retire upon the attaining of the mandatory retirement age
Constituting instrumentArticle 241 of the Constitution of Kenya
First holderBernard Penfold
DeputyVice Chief of the Defence Forces
WebsiteOfficial website

The office is considered very important and highly prestigious, because the CDF has command authority over the Armed Forces. The chain of command is from the President (as the Commander in Chief), directly to the CDF. The CDF, as a Principal Adviser, does have authority over personnel assignments and oversight over resources and personnel allocated to the commands within the respective services. The Chairman may also transmit communications to the service commanders from the President. He also performs all other functions as assigned from time to time by the President. The CDF may also allocate those duties and responsibilities to other officers under his name.

List of chiefsEdit

Chief of the General StaffEdit

No. Portrait Chief of the General Staff Took office Left office Time in office Defence branch Ref
1Penfold, RobertMajor General
Robert Bernard Penfold
30 November 196631 May 19692 years, 182 days  Kenya Army[2][3]
2Ndolo, JosephMajor General
Joseph Musyimi Lele Ndolo
1 June 196924 June 19712 years, 23 days  Kenya Army[4]
3Mulinge, JacksonGeneral
Jackson Kimeu Mulinge
25 June 1971198614–15 years  Kenya Army[5][6]
4Mohamed, MahamoudGeneral
Mohamud Haji Barrow Mohamed
198619969–10 years  Kenya Air Force[7][6]
5Tonje, DaudiGeneral
Daudi Rerimoi Chepkong'a Tonje
199630 November 20003–4 years  Kenya Army[7][6][8]
6Kibwana, JosephGeneral
Joseph Raymond Edward Kibwana
1 December 200031 August 20054 years, 273 days  Kenya Navy[6]
7Kianga, JeremiahGeneral
Jeremiah Mutinda Kianga
1 September 200512 July 20115 years, 314 days  Kenya Army[6]

Chief of the Defence ForcesEdit

No. Portrait Chief of the Defence Forces Took office Left office Time in office Defence branch Ref
1Penfold, BernardGeneral
Julius Waweru Karangi
(born 1951)
13 July 20114 May 20153 years, 295 days  Kenya Air Force[6]
2Mwathethe, SamsonGeneral
Samson Jefwa Mwathethe
(born 1958)
5 May 201510 May 20205 years, 4 days  Kenya Navy[6][9]
3Kibochi, RobertGeneral
Robert Kariuki Kibochi
(born 1959)
11 May 2020Incumbent1 year, 169 days  Kenya Army[10]


  1. ^ Kibet, Dennis (28 June 2018). "KDF makes major changes". Puls live. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  2. ^ Hornsby 2012, p. 180.
  3. ^ "King's Collections : Archive Catalogues : Military Archives". Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  4. ^ Hornsby 2012, p. 228-229.
  5. ^ Hornsby 2012, p. 335-336.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Nairobian reporter. "Seven Kenya Defence Forces military generals you never wanted to mess with". SDE. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  7. ^ a b Hornsby 2012, p. 554.
  8. ^ "A soldier's story".
  9. ^ Ramadhan, Khatib (1 May 2015). "Navy General takes over as new Chief of Kenya Defence Forces". Indian Ocean Observer. Mombasa. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  10. ^ Agutu, Nancy (11 May 2020). "Robert Kibochi sworn in as new Chief of Kenya Defence Forces". The Star. Retrieved 5 July 2020.