Since Kenya attained her independence, all aide-de-camps (ADC) were men but these changed in 2018 when former President Uhuru appointed Rachel Nduta, making her the first woman to hold the enviable position.
Here is the career journey of the first female ADC as told by WoK.
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Col Rachel Nduta Kamui was drawn from Kenya Air Force. She hit the headlines when she was spotted for the first time behind Uhuru Kenyatta alongside Colonel Timothy Stelu Lekolool during at State House.
“President Uhuru Kenyatta at the Kenya Music Festival Winners’ State Concert. On duty is the new assistant ADC, Lieutenant Colonel Rachel Nduta Kamui, from the Kenya Air Force who will be working alongside Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Lekolool,” read a tweet from State House.
Kamui was tasked with standing in for Colonel Timothy Stelu Lekolool who was the official aide-de-camp. Timothy took over the position in August 2017 from, Lieutenant Colonel Victor Mburu who left to pursue further military studies.
Paving Way for new assistant ADC
When President William Ruto took office, Colonel Fabian Lengusuranga from Kenya Army was appointed the new ADC replacing Timothy Lekolool who was former President Uhuru’s ADC from July 2018 to September 2022. Following the changes, Timothy was deployed to the Department of Defence (DOD) headquarters in Nairobi. Lieutenant Colonel Damaris Agnetta of Kenya Army was appointed assistant aide-de-camp taking over from Rachael Nduta Kamui who was promoted to the rank of Colonel and deployed to the Department of Defence headquarters.
Roles of an Aide-de-Camp
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An aide-de-camp is chosen by a sitting president and has to be a member of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF). Most people tend to think that an ADC is a bodyguard or personal assistant to the Head of State but that is not the case. According to Colonel Esther Wanjiku, who is the spokesperson of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), an ADC is basically a principal military officer serving the president.
“The aide-de-camp’s roles include managing the president’s diary and liaising with his or her main security team. The Defence Council can propose an Aide-de-Camp to the President, who has the last say on his preferred serviceman for the role. Aide-de-camp is a term borrowed from the French language. Its literal meaning is helper in the military camp. An ADC is a highly trained senior military officer who is required to be part of the president’s itinerary at all times,” Wanjiku told the Standard.
Apart from the ceremonial tasks such as opening car doors and standing behind the president, an aide-de-camp has other responsibilities. For example, Colonel Lekolool who served under President Uhuru’s regime was the tactical commander, detail leader, assistant detail leader, motorcade lead, mobile agent, advance lead, static agent and protective intelligence agent.
When foreign presidents come to the country, the Kenya Defence Forces proposes servicepersons who would serve as temporary ADC to the Heads of States. The Kenyan Aides-de-Camp would then work closely with the security detail of the visiting presidents.