Mwathethe honours wife in farewell speech

Outgoing Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) Gen. Samson Mwathathe inspects a guard of honour during the CDF change of guard ceremony at the DOD, Nairobi. PHOTO/COURTESY

Outgoing KDF chief Samson Mwathethe has thanked his wife Amina for standing by him during his time at the helm of the defence forces.

“I want to thank my family for their understanding and tolerance for the military life. To my dear wife Amina, allow me to congratulate you to… the way I see it, this retirement is for you too,” he said.

“When I spent most of my time pondering military tactics, you steered the family… your presence and valuable support made every day for me and our children better. Thank you for enduring the trials of being married to a military husband. I know there were days you felt they were overworking me and probably underpaying me.”

Mwathethe spoke during his farewell ceremony held at DoD headquarters on Friday.

Mwathethe also thanked President Uhuru Kenyatta for his ‘ constant wise counsel’ during his time at the helm of the forces.

“It has been an honour to serve him and to serve this nation,” he said.

Mwathethe recounted his joining the navy as a young man.

Earlier, KDF chief designate Robert Kibochi payed a glowing tribute to Mwathethe.

He said, “I will personally remember your calmness in the face of challenges. Your concern for the welfare of personnel will continue to inspire us… to continue the good work and raise KDF to higher levels.”

Kibochi also expressed gratitude for the opportunity to lead KDF.

“I am profoundly honoured for this opportunity to lead the fine men and women of the force. I undertake to do it diligently,” he said.

Kibochi recounted Mwathethe’s time at the forces, starting by giving his biography, complete with his service number, which brought attendees to laughter.

“I salute you and wish you good luck and hope to be meeting you in Mtwapa when we come,” he said.

Earlier, a military band played in the run up to the ceremony as top military officials attended the event, all wearing face masks.

Kenya Navy officers fired a 17-gun salute.

The defence forces launched a book during the ceremony titled ‘War for Peace Kenya’s Military in the African Mission in Somalia, 2012-2020’.

It captures the lessons and experiences of the defence forces serving under Amisom.

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday last week promoted Lt Robert Kibochi to the rank of General and appointed him Chief of Defence Forces.

Mwathethe’s term expired on April 17.

Kibochi served as the vice CDF during Mwathethe’s tenure.

Mwathethe’s term had expired in 2019, but the President extended it for a year.

The officers will assume their new positions on May 11.

The swearing-in will be held at State House.

“I look forward to working with these officers closely in service to our motherland. For you, General Mwathethe, I wish you fair winds following seas; and the very best in your future endeavours,” President Kenyatta said.

The President lauded Mwathethe for the role he played in protecting the country’s territory and expanding the military.

“Since your appointment as the Chief of Defence Forces five years ago (May 2015), we have seen significant expansion in our military and enviable improvement in the defence capability of our forces; thus giving Kenyans confidence that their borders are well protected from any external aggression,” Uhuru said.

“During your tenure, we detected and expunge early enough a number of plans by those who do not mean well for our country, in good time,” the President added.