National reserve force to ease defence budget

PARLIAMENT - The proposed National Reserve Force will help the force economise resources for national defence, Land Forces Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Charles Kayonga, told a parliamentary committee yesterday.
EXPLAINED: Lt. Gen. Charles Kayonga
EXPLAINED: Lt. Gen. Charles Kayonga

PARLIAMENT - The proposed National Reserve Force will help the force economise resources for national defence, Land Forces Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Charles Kayonga, told a parliamentary committee yesterday.

Kayonga who had accompanied the Defence Minister, Gen Marcel Gatsinzi to a session of a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence, said the reservists will be organised on paper and will be called upon when the need arises.

“The active force will be kept small but upon activation of reservists, its units will swell to realise the desired strength,” he told the committee chaired by its president Alfred Gasana.

Government is amending the Rwanda Defence Act of 2002 which will among other things see to the creation of a reserve force.

Willing civilians and demobilised soldiers will enlist to the force.
But the General ruled out automatic recruitment of demobilised soldiers into the force.   When not in action they will be going about their normal businesses.

He said by allowing a wider population to participate in national defence, the army will benefit from specialised skills brought on board by different individuals at a lesser cost.

Kayonga added that there are many citizens who are interested in joining the army but it cannot take them in due to resource constraints.

He said that reservists can be called on to support active forces in a war effort in causes of national interest.

The army chief told the committee that while working on the concept, some case studies were drawn from countries like Israel, USA and Tanzania.

The bill which is being discussed in the parliamentary committee will also ensure the detachment of the current Republican Guard from the army.

The Republican Guard is charged with providing security to top government officials and strategic locations like the national airport.

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