President Paul Kagame yesterday told officer cadets who completed their military training that Rwandan armed forces are not seeking war but should be ready to defeat whoever will want to wage war on Rwanda.
The Head of State delivered the message while officiating at the commissioning of 180 officer cadets at Rwanda Military Academy in Gako, Bugesera District.
Thanking the officer cadets for choosing the military profession that he described as noble, President Kagame also thanked families and friends who have supported them through that path.
“The profession you have chosen is a noble one. One you should be proud of. You can build your country and yourself the way the country and you deserve,” he told the cadet officers.
Of the 180 cadet officers who completed the training and were yesterday commissioned by the Head of State as junior officers in the RDF, 17 are women while four of the graduates were trained in Tanzania as part of regional integration and defence cooperation.
The officer cadets, who are all university graduates, were trained for one year but those with special skills like engineers and doctors were trained for six months.
President Kagame congratulated them for successfully completing the training and told them that they are now ready to face daily challenges, including unexpected ones.
“You are given the training and knowledge to protect the sovereignty of our nation, to fight wars and keep Rwandans safe. It is an important responsibility,” he said.
He also told them that much as they are trained to fight and defeat enemies of the country, their role is not to seek out wars but to maintain peace.
“RDF is trained and prepared to fight wars but not to start them with others. But if others make us their problem and choose to start a war with us, that is when we use judgment, determination and training to fight and finish it for them,” he said.
The acting commandant of Rwanda Military Academy in Gako, Col. Tom Mpaka, said that the officer cadets’ training focused on four pillars, including character development, military professionalism, academic development and physical fitness.
“Without doubt, the knowledge and skills provided to these new graduates will be effectively used to confront our national security challenges,” he said.
He reminded the graduates that the RDF is defined by professionalism and outstanding discipline and encouraged them to keep learning throughout their military career.
One of the graduates, Arielle Ingabire Sekamana said that she was motivated to join the army by the will to take over the responsibility from many liberators of the country over the years and ensure that there is continuity in protecting the country’s sovereignty.
“We have the responsibility to defend the integrity and the sovereignty of our country and the commitment to develop our nation state; that’s who we are. As guardians of the Rwandan way of life, we urge every young man and woman of our generation to embrace this heirloom,” she said in a message related to her graduation.
Another graduate, Amon Muhairwe, agrees, explaining in a column in the military academy’s newsletter that joining the army is a way of heeding the call from the country’s liberators.
Yesterday’s graduation of officer cadets at the Rwanda Military Academy in Gako was the seventh intake after six other promotions of officer cadet trainings were completed at the academy.