New Chief of Defence Staff General Jean-Bosco Kazura is a man obsessed with hard work, wants to achieve perfection in what he does, yet he still remains of humorous character – according to those that have worked with him.
President Kagame appointed Kazura to the RDF top job during the sweeping changes that the head of state made in the military earlier in the week.
Kazura replaces the long-serving General Patrick Nyamvumba who has been on the job since 2013.
The 56-year-old has military experience traversing three decades and has served in a number of army posts among them Commandant of the RDF Command and Staff College – Musanze. He worked in United Nations peacekeeping missions, in Mali and Sudan; as well as functioning as a Commandant of the Rwanda Defence Force Combat Training Centre, Gabiro.
Despite his lengthy service in the army, glimpses of his character and persona can be easily traced from his work as the Chairman of Rwanda Football Federation (FERWAFA), a post that brought the army man closer to journalists, fellow workers at the federation, and perhaps even mere ordinary Rwandans who love the beautiful game.
He was the FERWAFA President from 2006 to 2011 when he resigned citing personal reasons.
In an interview with The New Times, people that interacted with Kazura during his tenure at FERWAFA revealed that he is a man of zeal when it comes to work, yet has a strong light-side and a magnetic personality that makes him almost able to relate with anyone.
“He is a person that loves work so much. When he is at work, he is at work. He brings no jokes in work. But when he is in other things for example entertainment, he gets entertained,” said Jules Kalisa, former Chief Executive Officer at the national football federation.
Kalisa worked with Kazura for close to 6 years, and he saw his boss’ desire for perfection at work, though he still maintained his friendly, sociable personality,
“He wants to do excellent things. He wants to do something that you would look at and say, ‘this has been done by Kazura,’” he said.
“When he tells you to do something in a particular way and you do otherwise, he tells you that you have not performed well. He wants well-done work”.
Despite his demand for performance at work, Kalisa says that Kazura has an affable character that enables him to relate with people from different levels,
“There is no person he can’t relate well with. That is why they love him,” he said.
“People love him. Even when we used to go for CAF and FIFA events, people would ask ‘where is Kazura?’ He was like a celebrity. They would see him and be happy.”
The humorous Kazura
Sports journalist Jean de Dieu Bagirishya aka Jado Castar knows more about the humorous character of Kazura.
During the years of Kazura’s work at FERWAFA, Bagirishya, a worker for Radio Salus is one of the journalists who attended the federation’s events for example – preparations for the National Team Amavubi for continental footballing feats.
Bagirishya knows Kazura to be a quite humorous person, and one that uses “youthful language,”
“My experience with Kazura is an extremely positive one. He is a man who used to speak in a youthful way. Very humble, very understanding, and listening to everyone, yet had many jokes,” he says.
Bagirishya recalls one incident when he and fellow journalists had a treat of Kazura’s humour when they had attended a press conference for Amavubi’s preparations for a match against Ivory Coast,
“We asked him whether the air (atmosphere) in the national football would make it possible for us to defeat Côte d'Ivoire. His response was, ‘Don’t worry. The balls with which our team plays have enough air in them- they are well pumped. The air is okay, don’t worry,” a laughing Bagirishya told to The New Times.
Kazura can also be looked at as a man who was open to journalists’ questions,
“He was good at picking calls and answering questions,” another journalist told The New Times.
Gen Kazura holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and the social sciences as well as a diploma in law.