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Gen Francis Ogolla's daughter shares heartfelt tribute after deadly crash

Francis Ogolla's daughter eulogizes her father

General Francis Ogolla during his swearing ceremony at State House, Nairobi on April 29, 2023

In a heartrending statement, Lorna Omondi, the daughter of Kenya's Chief of Defence Forces, General Francis Ogolla, has spoken out following the tragic helicopter crash that claimed her father's life on April 18, 2024, in West Pokot.

“My father, the pursuer of excellence and the most empathetic and effective leader and statesman, just went down in a chopper crash in West Pokot," Lorna shared.

"He was doing what he did best, trying to keep Kenya safe for the better part of the last 40 years," she added.

General Ogolla, who dedicated four decades to military service, was revered for his commitment to national security and his profound leadership qualities.


The accident has sent shockwaves through the nation, prompting an outpouring of tributes from colleagues, dignitaries, and citizens alike.

Lorna's tribute continued with touching memories and a promise of honouring her father's legacy.

"One day I shall tell beautiful stories of how he taught with his actions and not with his words. But today, I rush home to send him off to the great beyond,” she stated.


President William Ruto appointed General Ogolla as chief of defence in April 2023 to the surprise of many, due to his close working relationship with former President Uhuru Kenyatta.

General Ogolla was mentioned among those accused of trying to overturn Ruto's win during the hotly contested presidential election in 2022.

President Ruto said he had a candid conversation with General Ogolla over the alleged plot and decided to appoint him regardless.

The commander-in-chief, however, explained that the KDF boss’ track record and qualifications were unmatched, making Ogolla the best person to head Kenya’s military.

I called him and I sat him down. I told him, my friend, you went to Bomas to try and overturn my victory but because you are the best person to be general, I will give you the job,” the president said.


Ruto further stated that he had been presented with 10 names to choose from and decided to promote General Ogolla against the advice of many of his allies.

He said many people told him not to reward the KDF boss because of the Bomas issue.

Kenya's highest-ranking military officer, General Francis Ogolla, has enjoyed a decorated career including being a fighter jet pilot

President William Ruto on Friday, April 28, 2023 promoted Lieutenant General Francis Omondi Ogolla to a full general and appointed him the new Chief of Defence Forces.


General Ogolla is the principal military adviser to the President and Cabinet.

The Tonje Rules, which were implemented by former Chief of Staff General Daudi Tonje, established a rotation system that ensures equal opportunities for the three branches of the Kenya Defence Forces: Army, Navy, and Air Force to lead the military.

Therefore, the President was obligated to select the next CDF from the Kenya Air Force, as General Kibochi, the immediate CDF, was from the Army and succeeded General Mwathethe from the Navy.

This rotation system allows for a fair and balanced approach to leadership within the Kenyan military.


General Francis Omondi Ogolla is a highly accomplished and respected senior officer in the Kenya Defence Forces.

He joined the military on April 24, 1984, and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant on May 6, 1985.

He was posted to the Kenya Air Force and began his military career as a fighter pilot.

Over the years, Ogolla has risen through the ranks, earning various promotions and taking on increasingly challenging assignments.


He trained as a fighter pilot and an instructor pilot with the United States Air Force and also received training in other areas, such as imagery intelligence, counter-terrorism, and accident investigation.

His dedication to continuous learning and professional development has been a hallmark of his distinguished career.

In terms of education, Ogolla has a diverse academic background. He holds a Diploma in International Studies and Military Science from Egerton University, a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Armed Conflict, and Peace Studies (First Class Honours), and a Master of Arts degree in International Studies from the University of Nairobi.


He also attended the École Militaire de Paris and the National Defence College of Kenya.

These include Deputy Commander Kenya Air Force, Base Commander of Laikipia Air Base, Commanding Officer of Tactical Fighter Wing, Chief Flying Instructor at Kenya Air Force Flying Training School, and Operations Desk Officer at Kenya Air Force Headquarters.

He has been instrumental in developing and implementing various training programs and operational strategies that have significantly enhanced the effectiveness of the Kenya Air Force and the Kenya Defence Forces as a whole.


Gen Ogolla's exceptional leadership, tactical expertise, and professional achievements have earned him numerous accolades and honours.

He was appointed the Commander of the Kenya Air Force on July 15, 2018, and served in that role for three years.


This is a testament to his unwavering commitment to duty, outstanding performance, and his ability to inspire and lead others.

Outside of his military career, Gen. Ogolla has also been active in various organizations. He served as the Chairman of the Military Christian Fellowship from 1994 to 2004 and co-Chair of the Association of African Air Chiefs between 2018 and 2019.

In his personal life, he is a golfer and enjoys reading. He is married to Aileen and has two children.


Ogolla's military career spans almost four decades, during which he has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to duty, professionalism, and personal development.

He is widely respected by his peers and subordinates for his exceptional leadership and tactical acumen.

His many achievements and accolades serve as an inspiration to aspiring military personnel and a testament to the importance of continuous learning and self-improvement.


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