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Robert Kibochi: Meet The First Sitting Military Commander To Earn A PhD In Kenya

By Prudence Minayo

General Robert Kibochi was appointed the Chief of Defense Forces (CDF) of the Kenya Defense Forces and began his duties in May 2020. He became the first non-infantry officer in Kenya’s army to be made a boss in the military. The KDF boss made headlines on Friday, 22nd July 2022 after he graduated from Kenyatta University with a PhD in Peace and Conflict Management. This makes him the very first sitting army chief to graduate with a doctorate.

“The journey has been long due to the nature of my work, but I had to burn the midnight oil to widen my educational horizons at the top of my scale,” he said. 

Here is his career journey as told by WoK.


The army chief was born in 1959 in Gilgil, Nakuru. He attended Koelel High School followed by Nyeri High School.

Choosing to join the military, he didn’t finish his A levels. Having studied in Koelel, the military was nothing new to him. It was a part of his environment. The school was also located inside the fifth Kenya Rifles. This close proximity with the army inspired his decision to join the military at a time when most people didn’t want the career.   He ran away from Nyeri High School to join the army. 


He joined the Kenya Army in 1979 and was posted to AFTC in Nakuru. After graduation, he became a second Lieutenant posted to Signals Battalion. Since then, he has risen through the ranks and served in various positions including: 

  • Chief of strategic plans and policy, Col Operations requirement 
  • Assistant Chief of Defense forces in charge of operations, Plans, Doctrine and Training at Defense Headquarters (DJQ
  • Chief of Staff at the Eastern Africa Standby Force 
  • Director International Peace Support Training Center

Education History 

In 1987, he graduated from Jawaharlal Nehru University with a Bachelor of Technology in Electronics and Communications Engineering. 

In 2006, he graduated from the University of Sunderland with a Master of Science in Computer Based Information Systems. The following year, he graduated from the University of Nairobi with a Master of Arts in International Studies. 

Making History

General Robert Kibochi made history by becoming the first sitting military chief to earn a doctorate degree. He was conferred with the Doctor of Philosophy egress at the 51st graduation ceremony to be held on Friday.

He said of his achievement:

“For this, I am grateful to God and to everyone who supported me in this journey. I want to single my family and colleagues for their moral support” he said in part.