NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 12 – General Jeremiah Kianga has officially handed over the command of the defence forces to the newly appointed Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) General Julius Waweru Karangi at a colourful military ceremony at the Department of Defence headquarters.
The now-retired General Kianga said that he was pleased to have played an important role in reforming the country’s defence force since his appointment in September 2005.
General Kianga leaves the militarily after 40 years of service to become the chairman of the Kenya Railways Corporation board.
“I am the happiest because this day has been coming for the past 40 years and that I am still alive and well.”
“Changes in leadership are a part of life. In any institution that wants to survive and succeed change is necessary… you cannot run a relay without handing over the baton,” said the calm-looking general.
“I am happy that through my six years (as the boss) the military has asserted itself in all that we have done we have always spoken loudly and said yes we can and yes we are already and this is not chest thumping,” he added.
Gen Kianga wished well to the incoming leadership headed by General Karangi who was his deputy for the six years he served as the Chief of Defence Forces.
He asked military personnel to assert themselves in their role and to always keep the image of an alert force.
“The perception of a professional and capable force is based on what the people think and what the potential enemy thinks, you must not show that you are not up for it, you must not show that you are weak,” he advised.
“The Kenyan soldier must never allow to come second, must never be prepared to come second,” he reiterated.
Born on April 26, 1950 in Makueni District, General Kianga went to Machakos Secondary School until 1970.
He joined the military in April 1971 and after two years’ Cadet training at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, he was commissioned and posted to the 5th Kenya Rifles as a Platoon Commander in 1973 where he did regimental duty up to 1975.
General Kianga has been trained in Kenya, the United Kingdom, India and the United States of America where he obtained a Masters degree in Military Arts and Science from Kansas University.
He served as a Directing Staff at the Army Staff College, in the UK and Defence Staff College Kenya. He also served as Defence Advisor in Uganda and Chief of Military Intelligence at Defence headquarters.
In December 1999, as Major General, he was appointed General Officer Commanding Eastern Command then Deputy Army Commander and thereafter served as Assistant Chief of General Staff-in-charge of Personnel and Logistics at Defence Headquarters.
On March 2003 he was promoted to the rank of Lt Gen and appointed Commander Kenya Army from where he has been promoted to a Full General and appointed Chief of General Staff (CGS), taking over from Gen (Retired) Joseph Kibwana.
The end of the reign of General Kianga was signified by the tradition in which senior military officers led by a band led his land rover out of the defence headquarters.