According to a story appearing on People Daily, a newspaper owned by President Uhuru, Navy Commander Lt. Gen Samson Mwathethe is highly likely to replace Gen. Julius Wawer Karangi. This will be communicated today, at a ceremony at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
Karangi, whom critics have christened ‘pot bellied’ general, or ‘bogi benda‘, has reached age limit and President Uhuru is said not to be keen in renewing his contract.
Lieutenant-General Samson Jefwa Mwathethe is poised to replace General Julius Waweru Karangi at the Department of Defence (DoD) as Kenyaâ€™s next Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), the People Daily has reliably established.
Impeccable sources at the Office of the President intimated to us that curtains could come down on the 42-year distinguished military career of Karangi as early as today.
The sources at Harambee House further revealed the National Defence Council (NDC), an institutional organ that advises the Commander-in-Chief and Appointing Authority (in this case President Uhuru Kenyatta) had shortlisted possible candidates to replace Karangi and had settled on the most suitable name and outlined reasons from which to counsel the President to pick the next Chief of Defence Forces (CDF).
The NDC comprises Defence CS, CDF, Service Commanders, and Defence PS. According to the sources, the NDC had picked Lt-Gen Mwathethe, a mariner drawn from the Kenya Navy, to succeed Karangi. Mwathethe is currently the vice-CDF and the de facto second-in-command to Karangi at DoD, a position he has held for the past four years.
Mwathetheâ€™s imminent appointment comes in the wake of widespread speculation on Karangiâ€™s retirement from KDF in a countdown characterised by succession intrigues revolving around an intricate matrix of merit, tradition, politics and ethnicityâ€”a rectangular axis from which three prominent names had been identified as suitable candidates.
Karangiâ€™s date of departure from KDF was expected to come by the end of July this year. In what could be the last official function for Karangi as CDF, Defence Cabinet secretary Raychelle Omamo is scheduled to lead the top military brass at a tree-planting ceremony this morning near the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport after which â€œofficial announcement of Karangiâ€™s replacement shall be made.â€
Apart from Mwathethe, the other top contenders in the Karangi succession are Lt-Gen Jackson Waweru, an experienced pilot from the Kenya Air Force and who is the Commandant of the National Defence College, and Lt-Gen Joseph Kasaon, presently the Army commander.Â Military rules stipulate that the CDF retires on reaching the age of 64 or after serving a one four-year term, whichever comes first.
Thus, in retrospect, Karangi shall, on April 28, attain the mandatory retirement age whereas his tenure as CDF officially ends on July 30, thus his exit is expected to fall in between the two dates.
In succeeding Karangi, Mwathethe will certainly become one of Kenyaâ€™s most powerful public figures. As CDF, the holder of the office is the professional head of the three arms of the militaryâ€”Army, Navy and Air Forceâ€”as well as the Presidentâ€™s principal adviser on security, in addition to being the KDF titular chief executive.
For two years now, Karangi is largely believed to have been the apple of the eye of President Uhuruâ€™s and, arguably, the most powerful public figure in Kenya today outside the presidency. His exit from DoD, undoubtedly, elicited more-than-cursory attention focused at the unfolding developments within the security apparatus.
Though not in the public domain, Karangi is understood to be Uhuruâ€™s most trusted counsel on security ever since the latter assumed office in April 2013, which is why he is touted as a Cabinet secretary-in-waiting to head a yet to be reconstituted Ministry of Homeland Security. Over the last three decades, appointments to the summit of the countryâ€™s military strata have traditionally been made on a rotational basis from the military arms.
Karangi was drawn from the Air Force while his predecessor Gen(rtd) Jeremiah Kianga was from the Army. Going by the same tradition, Karangiâ€™s successor is to be picked from the Navy, though the Appointing Authority is not entirely tied to that ad hoc arrangement.
Yesterday, a source said: â€œNothing short of a miracle can change that tradition. Members of the NDC have met and settled on the next CDF. You can take this to the bank, our next boss at KDF is Mwathethe.
NDC was unanimous about that decision.â€ Initial reports painted a picture of stakes so high that owing to various sets of opinion, Waweru was being favoured by ethno-political circumstances.
However, our sources discounted the speculation, saying NDC had meticulously exhausted all formalities and protocol and settled on Mwathethe. â€œItâ€™s a fait accompli,â€ insisted the OP source while insinuating that Waweru was most likely to be named the next vice CDF.