During any transfer of power at presidency level, the defense forces play an indispensable role which includes organising for smooth transition and even at times (extreme cases), deciding who to take over as Commander-in-Chief.
In 2013, General Julius Karangi oversaw a smooth transition in which Mwai Kibaki handed over powers to President Uhuru Kenyatta. A decade before, Navy man Joseph Kibwana was in charge of transition from Daniel Moi presidency to Mwai Kibaki regime.
Technically, General Samson Mwathethe, the current Chief of Defense Forces, would have his term expiring on Wednesday according to Daudi Tonje Rules, which have guided transition in military for decades.
According to the rules, the next Chief of Defense Forces must be the senior most officer from Kenya Army wing, and thus, Vice Chief of Defense Forces Lieutenant General Robert Kibochi will be the next in the line of succession.
In reference to KDF website, Kibochi has held various command and staff appointments including his immediate former appointment as Commander of the Kenya Army, Assistant Chief of Defence Forces in charge of Operations, Plans, Doctrine and Training at Defence Headquarters (DHQ), Chief of Strategic Plans and Policy, Director International Peace Support Training Centre, Col Operations Requirements (CIS) and Commander Corps of Signals.
Other appointments held include Chief of Staff at the Eastern Africa Standby Force, SO1 Records at Headquarter Kenya Army (HQ KA), SO1 Comms HQ KA, SO1 Mobilization DHQ, SO1 Comms CIS DHQ and SOII Operations and Training at the HQ of the Corps of Signals.
Lt Gen Kibochi has earned Masters Degree of Arts in International Studies, Masters Degree in Computer Based Information Systems, Bachelors of Technology in Communication and Electronics Engineering, and is currently pursuing Ph.d degree in Peace and Conflict Management.
His other professional training include National Security Studies at the National Defence College (Kenya). Army Command and Staff Course (UK), Overseas Telecoms Engineering Course (UK), Signal Officers Degree Telecommunications Engineering Course (India), Sub Unit Commanders Course, Platoon Commanders Course, Regimental Signal Officers Course among other training courses.
He served with the United Nations as Commander of Kenyan Contingent in the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) from 2000 – 2001; while his decorations include Moran of the Order of the Golden Heart (MGH) and Chief of the Order of the Burning Spear (CBS) among others.
Once he takes over in few weeks time should President Uhuru Kenyatta fail the extend Mwathethe's term for one year, Kibochi will technically exit military in 2023 after serving the single term of four years as KDF chief.
And this means in 2022, Lt General Kibochi will be the right man in charge of transition from President Uhuru Kenyatta's regime to his successor. He will be in charge of handling over committee according to the constitution.
The change of guard in forces determines the country's future in terms of political power. In other jurisdictions, army generals make fundamental decisions including who to take over presidency and who not to. Kibochi was promoted to be Mwathethe's deputy last year in August after three years in charge of Kenya Army.