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Who is Lieutenant General Charles Murui Kahariri? Career and Experience of Kenya’s New CDF



Discover the remarkable career of Lt Gen Charles Murui Kahariri, Kenya’s new Chief of Defence Forces.

With over three decades of service in the Kenya Defence Forces, his leadership roles, including Vice Chief of the Defence Forces, showcase his strategic prowess.

From commanding Kenya Navy ships to spearheading crucial operations like “Operation Linda Nchi,” his journey reflects dedication and expertise.

Explore his achievements, qualifications, and recent promotion to the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) in this insightful biography.


 Lieutenant General Charles Murui Kahariri

Who is Lieutenant General Charles Murui Kahariri?

Lieutenant General Charles Murui Kahariri, a distinguished military officer in the Kenya Defence Forces, has assumed the role of Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), succeeding the late General Francis Ogolla.

President William Ruto promoted Lieutenant General Kahariri to the rank of General on Thursday, May 2, before appointing him as the new CDF.

General Kahariri steps into this role following the tragic plane crash last month that claimed the lives of General Ogolla and nine other military officers.

With over three decades of service, he has held various leadership positions, including Vice Chief of the Defence Forces.

Throughout his career, General Kahariri has commanded Kenya Navy ships and led significant operations like “Operation Linda Nchi” and “Operation Sledge Hammer.”


His expertise, strategic thinking, and dedication to safeguarding Kenya’s security interests are widely recognized.

Early Life and Education

His early life remains somewhat private, but his career achievements show a deep dedication to his nation and a solid foundation in military training and leadership.

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Kahariri joined the Kenya Defence Forces on April 3, 1987, and earned his commission as an officer (Second Lieutenant) on April 15, 1988.

He pursued additional training in the United Kingdom and completed various local and international courses to hone his skills.

These include the International Midshipman Course (UK), Long Navigation Course (India), the Management and Strategic Planning Course, and the Naval Command Course (USA), among others.


His educational background and training significantly bolstered his successful career in the Kenya Defence Forces.

Kahariri served in diverse roles, including Vice Chief of Defence Forces. His appointment to this position followed the tragic passing of General Francis Ogolla.

How long does one serve as a CDF?

In Kenya, the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) holds office for a single term lasting four years, as stipulated by Article 241 of the Constitution of Kenya.

Moreover, there’s an option for a one-year extension at the Commander in Chief’s discretion, following the military tradition referred to as the ‘Tonje Rules’.

These rules, named after General Daudi Tonje, were implemented to ensure an orderly and equitable rotation of the CDF position among the navy, army, and air force services.


CDF Retirement age

In Kenya, the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) must retire at the age of 62, as per regulations.

The CDF can serve one four-year term, but must retire when reaching the mandatory retirement age, whichever happens first.

This practice guarantees a regular change in military leadership and promotes the infusion of new viewpoints into the top command of the Kenya Defence Forces.

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Lt Gen Charles Murui Kahariri Experience and Career

Lieutenant General Charles Muriu Kahariri assumes the role of Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) in Kenya, succeeding the late General Francis Ogolla.

President William Ruto announced his appointment, simultaneously promoting him to the rank of General.


With 37 years of service in the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), Lieutenant General Kahariri boasts an impressive career trajectory.

He joined the KDF in 1987 and steadily ascended the ranks. Notably, he briefly served as Vice Chief of the Defence Forces before becoming the CDF.

Initially part of the Kenya Navy wing of the KDF, Kahariri held various leadership roles within the Navy. These included commanding officer positions for Kenya Navy Ships Mamba, Madaraka, and Umoja.

He also commanded Kenya Navy Manda Base and served as Squadron Commander. He was the Commander of the Kenya Navy Fleet, and Deputy Commander of the Kenya Navy.

Lieutenant General Kahariri’s operational experience is extensive.


He served as the maritime component commander for “Operation Linda Nchi”. He also served as the task force commander for “Operation Sledge Hammer” during the capture of Kismaiyu.

In terms of academic qualifications, Lieutenant General Kahariri pursued over half a dozen courses both locally and internationally.

Notably, he graduated with a Diploma in Strategic and Security Studies from the United States Naval War College.

Personal Life and Retirement

General Charles Muriu Kahariri has three children.According to the Kenya Defence Forces Act, the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), along with the deputy and service commanders, must serve a single four-year term or retire upon reaching the mandatory retirement age.

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Therefore,  Kahariri will serve as CDF for four years, with the possibility of extensions at the discretion of the Commander-in-Chief.


His leadership is poised to significantly influence the future direction of the Kenya Defence Forces.

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