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Citizen Weekly

Monday, 13 April 2015

OFFICIALS TO MEET ON JULIUS KARANGI SUCCESSION top decision-making organs on national defence are scheduled to meet on Tuesday and next week to discuss the retirement of the Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces, Gen Julius Waweru Karangi.
Gen Karangi is expected to retire at the end of April and President Uhuru Kenyatta has indicated that he will not interfere with the military’s succession plan. The President is also the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.
There has been speculation that Gen Karangi could be named to a new position of National Security Advisor expected to be created soon.
In countries such as the US, the National Security Advisor is a senior position and the holder attends Cabinet meetings.
Service commanders are expected to meet on Tuesday to prepare the way for the National Security Committee meeting next week.
The final decision over who will succeed Gen Karangi is expected to be communicated during a meeting of the National Security Council, which is chaired by President Kenyatta.
Among the top generals who are likely to be considered to succeed Gen Karangi are the Vice Chief of the Defence Forces, Lt-Gen Samson Mwathethe of the Navy, the Army Commander, Lt-Gen Joseph Kasaon and the Commandant of the National Defence College, Lt Gen J N Waweru.
Under the rotational system between the three services — the Army, Air Force and Navy — Lt Gen Mwathethe is next in line because the last two chiefs have been from the Army and the Air Force respectively.
However, there are those who argue that since the country is at war, with the military engaged in hunting down Al-Shabaab in Somalia and helping to stabilise the neighbouring country under Amisom, the Army should take over the leadership because its forces have been playing a leading role in the operation.
This is where Lt-Gen Kasaon, the Army commander comes in as the most senior officer.
Gen Waweru, the commandant, National Defence College in Karen, is being mentioned as another possible candidate for the post.
The Air Force pilot is a respected officer but his elevation would mean that another Air Force man will take over the top military job as Gen Karangi is also from the Air Force.
Others mentioned as possible successors are the Navy Commander, Maj-Gen Ngewa Mukala, and the Air Force Commander, Maj-Gen Samuel Thuita. However, these are considered peripheral candidates for the job.
Gen Karangi has been at the helm for four years, and going by a statement by Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo, he should be at the end of his four decades in the Armed Forces.
According to the statement issued last year, a KDF chief should serve a term of four years or attain the age of 64, whichever comes first, a reinforcement of the Tonje rules.
The succession will be determined when the Defence Council next meets to consider promotions and transfers since those who hit their ranks’ retirement age before then would be allowed to retire.