First woman air force head in Kenya


Kenya’s President William Ruto made a historic appointment by naming Maj Gen Fatuma Gaiti Ahmed as the first female commander of the air force. This decision comes in the aftermath of a tragic helicopter crash last month, which resulted in the loss of the military chief and others, necessitating the appointment of new leadership.


In addition to Maj Gen Ahmed’s appointment, other key leadership positions were filled, including the appointment of Gen Charles Kahariri as the new head of the armed forces, succeeding the late military chief.

Maj Gen Ahmed’s ascent to this esteemed position marks a significant breakthrough in gender barriers within the military hierarchy. Throughout her career, she has defied norms and become the first woman to achieve the ranks of brigadier and major general in a predominantly male-dominated military leadership.


Her journey in the military began in 1983 when she joined the Women Service Corps, a distinct unit focusing on support roles such as administration, logistics, medical, and communication. With the integration of women into the main military services in 1999, new avenues for advancement and excellence became accessible.


President Uhuru Kenyatta, during Maj Gen Ahmed’s promotion to major general in 2018, lauded her as a beacon of inspiration for women nationwide. He urged her to demonstrate that there are no boundaries for women in any profession.

Maj Gen Ahmed’s determination to thrive despite familial skepticism underscores her resilience and dedication to effecting change. Influenced by her uncle’s military career, she embraced values of discipline and diligence that have shaped her character since her formative years.


Her remarkable ascent through the ranks reflects the strides made towards gender parity in the armed forces, serving as an inspirational example for women throughout the nation.

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