Chief of Defence Forces (Kenya)

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Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces
Flag of the Kenya Defence Forces.svg
Standard of the Kenya Defence Forces
2015 12 25 Kenya's CDF-4 (23899946181).jpg
General Samson Mwathethe

since 4 May 2015
National Security Council
Reports toPresident of Kenya
ResidenceUlinzi House
AppointerUhuru Kenyatta
President of Kenya
Constituting instrumentArticle 241 of the Constitution of 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]

The office is considered very important and highly prestigious, because the CDF as a body 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 chiefs[edit]

Chief of the General Staff
Chief of the General Staff Took office Left office Time in office Defence branch Ref
Bernard Penfold
Penfold, BernardGeneral
Bernard Penfold
196619692–3 yearsArmy[2][3]
Joseph Ndolo
Ndolo, JosephJoseph Ndolo196924 June 19711–2 yearsArmy[4]
Jackson Mulinge
Mulinge, JacksonGeneral
Jackson Mulinge
November 197819867–8 yearsArmy[5][6]
Mahamoud Mohamed
Mohamed, MahamoudGeneral
Mahamoud Mohamed
198619969–10 yearsAir Force[7][6]
Daudi Tonje
Tonje, DaudiGeneral
Daudi Tonje
199630 November 20003–4 yearsArmy[7][6]
Joseph Kibwana
Kibwana, JosephGeneral
Joseph Kibwana
1 December 200031 August 20054–5 yearsNavy[6]
Jeremiah Kianga
Kianga, JeremiahGeneral
Jeremiah Kianga
1 September 200512 July 20115–6 yearsArmy[6]
Chief of the Defence Forces
Chief of the Defence Forces Took office Left office Time in office Defence branch Ref
Julius Waweru Karangi
Penfold, BernardGeneral
Julius Waweru Karangi
13 July 20114 May 20153 years, 295 daysAir force[6]
Samson Mwathethe
Mwathethe, SamsonGeneral
Samson Mwathethe
4 May 2015Incumbent4 years, 45 daysNavy[6][8]


  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. ^ Ramadhan, Khatib (1 May 2015). "Navy General takes over as new Chief of Kenya Defence Forces". Indian Ocean Observer. Mombasa. Retrieved 13 August 2018.