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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Change of guard as top generals prepare to retire

William Oeri  | nation From left , Kenya Navy Commander Maj Gen Samson Jefwa Mwathethe, Air Force Commander Maj Gen H.M. Tangai , Army Commander Lt Gen Jack Tuwei and Chief of General Staff General Jeremiah Kianga at a past function. Lt Gen Tuwei has gone on terminal leave pending retirement.
William Oeri | nation From left , Kenya Navy Commander Maj Gen Samson Jefwa Mwathethe, Air Force Commander Maj Gen H.M. Tangai , Army Commander Lt Gen Jack Tuwei and Chief of General Staff General Jeremiah Kianga at a past function. Lt Gen Tuwei has gone on terminal leave pending retirement. 
By MUGUMO MUNENE mmunene@ke.nationmedia.com
Posted Saturday, November 13 2010 at 21:00

Two top military generals have gone on leave pending retirement in the first step of an impending shake-up in the Department of Defence.
Army Commander Lt Gen Jack Tuwei and the National Defence College Commandant, Lt Gen Jones Mutwii, have started a requisite three-month leave as the search for their successors gets under way, the Sunday Nation has learned.
Sources at the Department of Defence said that Lt Gen Tuwei, who joined the Kenya Armed Forces as an Army Cadet in April 1973, and Lt Gen Mutwii, who was born on December 14, 1951, have attained the retirement age.
The two have preceded their seniors, Chief of General Staff General Jeremiah Kianga and Vice-Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Julius Karangi, who are due for retirement next year.
Gen Kianga’s term expires on July 1 next year while Lt Gen Karangi’s expires six months later in December. Gen Kianga was born on April 26, 1950. He joined the military in April 1971.
Sources told the Sunday Nation that the National Defence Council, chaired by Defence minister Yusuf Haji, is due to meet at the end of the month to consider promotions.
Military spokesman Bogita Ongeri declined to comment on the pending retirements but said he was aware that the National Defence Council was due to meet.
“I don’t have details on who is to retire but the Defence Council has a meeting. They do not only meet to discuss promotions but deployment and appointments as well. It is chaired by the minister and plays an advisory role to the President on the management of military affairs such as recruitment,” said Mr Ongeri.
Sources at DoD said that Deputy Army Commander, Maj Gen Njuki Mwaniki, will act as Army Commander until the Defence Council and the President reach a decision on who is to occupy the position.
“Military personnel are men of honour and high professional standing. The extension of service, promotion, appointment or deployment are the discretion of the President, who is the Commander in Chief,” said Mr Ongeri.
Among those who are likely to rise or move to different assignments when the new appointments are made are Air Force Commander Maj Gen Harold Tangai, Navy Commander Maj Gen Samson Mwathethe, Commandant of the Defence Staff College, Maj Gen Charles Mwanzia, and the General Officer Commanding Eastern Command, Maj Gen Maurice Oyugi.
Others are General Officer Commanding Western Command, Maj Gen Simeon Karanja, Senior Directing Staff National Defence College, Maj Gen Jackson N. Waweru, Maj Gen Joseph Kasaoni, Maj Gen A.M. Rop, and Maj Gen Mwaniki.
The movements at the top ordinarily affect the lower ranks where officers are in high expectations of filling the positions of those who are promoted or retired.
The new Constitution is silent on the procedure of appointment of top military officers which leaves the discretion to the President as the Commander in Chief, to execute decisions on the advice of the National Defence Council.
Lt Gen Tuwei has served both in the Air Force and the Army. At the Air Force, he held various appointments among them Base Adjutant, Officer Commanding Administration and Logistics Squadron and Commanding Officer Headquarters Wing. In 1990, he was promoted to Colonel and appointed the Commander of Moi Air Base. He was promoted to the rank of Brigadier in 1992.
In 1995, he was transferred back to the Kenya Army and appointed the Commander of an Infantry Brigade. In 1998, he was promoted to Major General and appointed General Officer Commanding, Western Command and the following year, he was appointed Commander of the Army Logistics Command.
In 2002, he was appointed Commandant Armed Forces Training College where he worked between August 2002 and August 2005. On August 10, 2005, he was promoted to the present rank and appointed Commandant National Defence College.
He is credited with liberating the Moi Air Base in 1982 from the rebels during the attempted coup in August of that year. He has been very active in sports and is the vice-chairman, Athletics Kenya. He has been actively involved in the National Olympic Committee.Lt Gen Tuwei is a graduate of Royal College of Defence Studies, UK.
Lt Gen Mutwii joined the military in 1976 as a trainee Cadet Officer. He has served in various capacities, among them Commanding Officer, KENBATT 2 in the former Yugoslavia in 1993-94, Staff Officer Defence Headquarters, Commandant School of Infantry, Commander 4 Brigade, Commandant School of Combat, General Officer Commanding Western Command, Deputy Army Commander before becoming the Commandant, National Defence College.
Lt Gen Mutwii has undertaken military training courses in Kenya, United Kingdom, USA and South Africa.

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