This man Warioba Kibaso: Inside look at new prisons boss

This man Warioba Kibaso: Inside look at new prisons boss

The newly appointed prisons boss John Warioba Kibaso has played a major role in operations against Al-Shabaab in Somalia.

Brigadier (rtd) Warioba, a former soldier who is reported to have been serving his terminal leave when the new job came calling, served as a Sector 2 commander of the African Union mission in Somalia (Amisom) in the lower and middle Juba regions in 2016.

He had served as commandant of the School of Infantry in Isiolo County whose primary function is to respond to land based-aggression from other countries.

He was also commandant of the Military Academy in Nakuru, a foundational training centre for officers joining the Kenya Defence Forces.

In this role, he was responsible for the planning and training of contingent troops heading to Somalia, where the Kenya Defence Forces have been fighting Al-Shabaab militants for the past decade alongside troops from four other eastern African countries.

In 2015, he was awarded the Head of State’s Elder of the Burning Spear (EBS) commendation by President Uhuru Kenyatta in recognition of his distinguished and outstanding services to the nation.

President Uhuru Kenyatta with Brigadier (Rtd) John Kibaso Warioba at State House, Nairobi.

Photo credit: PSCU

The commendation came months after his promotion to brigadier in July 30, 2014 and appointed as Amisom commander in a series of promotions that also saw the current Chief of Defence Forces General Robert Kibochi, then a brigadier, promoted to major-general and appointed commandant of the Defence Staff College.

Around the same time, Nairobi Metropolitan Services boss Major-General Mohamed Abdalla Badi, then a colonel, was promoted to a brigadier and appointed Moi Air Base commander.

He now takes over the leadership of the crisis-stricken prisons department after three terror convicts - Musharaf Abdalla Akhulunga, Mohamed Ali Abikar and Joseph Juma Odhiambo – escaped from the heavily guarded facility after “removing part of the wall” leading to their cell block at the Kamiti Maximum Security Prison.

Disciplinary action

Newly appointed prisons boss John Warioba Kibaso

Newly appointed prisons boss John Warioba Kibaso.

Photo credit: Lucy Wanjiru | Nation Media Group

His in-tray is already full as he now has to sanction disciplinary action against all prison staff on duty when the security breaches occurred, an action that his predecessor failed to take immediately after the incident was reported to him.

Mr Wycliffe Ogallo is said to have only taken action against Kamiti Commandant Charles Mutembei on Wednesday morning, days after the Al-Qaeda-linked terror convicts went missing.

Prisons boss Wycliffe Ogallo

Kenya Prison Service Commissioner-General Wycliffe Ogallo. President Uhuru Kenyatta sacked him days after Kamiti jailbreak that saw three terror convicts escape.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group
Kamiti Maximum Prison boss Charles Mutembei

Kamiti Maximum Prison boss Charles Mutembei (standing) with his co-accused when he appeared before Kahawa Law Courts on November 18, 2021.

Photo credit: Simon Ciuri | Nation Media Group

The facility’s initial report on the escape had been declared misleading by a team led by Interior CS Fred Matiang’i that went to the prison on Monday night.

“We have gone to the place where the escape allegedly happened and we have formed certain opinions. We don’t want to discuss that because we don’t want to interfere with the work that the DCI is doing,” Dr Matiang’i said.

A public notice communicating the jail break also reported the time of the incident as November 15 at around 0100hrs, while an internal security report on daily occurrences, seen by the Nation, states that the trio escaped from their cell at around 1000hrs.

Prison staff also hope that he will address the longstanding issue of promotions, which they say has dented their morale.

Tension is growing at Magereza House over expected redeployment of personnel as the new boss settles in and remodels the department to ensure accountability and prevent similar escapes by inmates.

This, the President said, would honour the many Kenyans who have lost their lives and the enormous sacrifices security organs have made to disrupt, dismantle and defeat terror networks.

“As part of the state response to the security breaches in the Kamiti maximum prison that led to the escape of three terror convicts, the President has directed the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government and all security formations to take all action necessary and pursue the Kamiti escapees with all the available resources,” a statement from State House said.

Mr Warioba holds a master of arts degree in international security and strategy from King’s College, London.

He also has an advanced diploma in military management from Devi Ahilya University, formerly Indore University, in India.