New Military chiefs: Profiles

On Tuesday, the newly appointed senior military officers Lt. Gen. Charles Kayonga, Lt. Gen. Charles Muhire and Lt. Gen. Caesar Kayizari were sworn in following their new assignments within the military.
L-R : Lt. Gen. Charles Kayonga ; Lt. Gen. Charles Muhire ;Lt. Gen. Caesar Kayizari
L-R : Lt. Gen. Charles Kayonga ; Lt. Gen. Charles Muhire ;Lt. Gen. Caesar Kayizari

On Tuesday, the newly appointed senior military officers Lt. Gen. Charles Kayonga, Lt. Gen. Charles Muhire and Lt. Gen. Caesar Kayizari were sworn in following their new assignments within the military.

The New Times’ James Karuhanga compiled the profiles of the officers

Lt. Gen. Charles Kayonga

Chief of Defence Staff
Lt. Gen. Kayonga was born in 1962. He attended Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda where he received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education.

He was commissioned in 1989 and is a graduate of the famed US Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

The General has held various military appointments and his key career highlights include the fact that he served in various capacities and rose in rank from Platoon Command to Battalion Commander, during the 1990-1994 liberation war.

• From 1993 through 1994, he was the Commanding Officer of the 3rd Battalion that was popularly referred to as the “600 Bn”. This contingent was responsible for security of the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) Politicians in Kigali as part of the implementation of the Arusha Peace Accords. He also commanded the Bravo Mobile Force during the campaign against Genocide.

• During the 1996-1998 counter insurgency operations, he was as an Infantry Brigade Commander, Commanding Officer of the Mechanised Battalion as well as Task Force Commander.

• From 2000 to 2002, he served as the Defence and Military Advisor to President Paul Kagame.

• From 2002, General Kayonga served as the Army Chief of Staff [land forces].

In addition, the battle hardened soldier is a recipient of various accolades among which are the National Liberation Medal, Campaign against Genocide Medal and the Foreign Campaign Medal. He also holds the Command Service Ribbon and Combat Action Ribbon.

Lt. Gen. Charles Kayonga is married to Caroline Rwivanga and the couple has three children.

As the new Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of the Rwandan Defence Force (RDF), he is the second Joint Commander of Rwanda Defence Staff. The Chief of Staff is responsible for command, control and management of Rwanda Defence Force. He is also the principle Military Advisor to the Commander-in-Chief and the Government of Rwanda.

Lt. Gen. Charles Muhire

The new Chief of Staff – Reserve Force

Lt. Gen. Muhire was born in 1958 in Byumba (Rwanda). He got part of his education at Mulago Medical Teaching Hospital in Kampala, Uganda from where he graduated, in 1979, with a higher diploma in Orthopaedics and Traumatology.

His military career started when he was commissioned in 1986.

Lt. Gen. Muhire is a graduate of the South African Air Force Command and Staff College. He has also trained in Economics Science (South Africa), Air force Management and operations course (Israel) and International Defence management course (Rwanda) by a mobile training team from Monterey, California.

Career wise, before his recent appointment, Lt Gen Muhire held various other top military appointments:

• From 1990 to 1994, he was Commanding Officer 4th Column, Battalion commander 4th Battalion, Commandant Military Training School as well as Commander of 101 Mobile Force.

In addition to his command responsibility, he was a member of the High Command, the Chairman of the Field Court Martial (1992), and a military delegate to the “Arusha Peace Talks” while negotiating the “Military Integration Protocol” that sought to integrate the Rwandese Patriotic Army (RPA) and the previous regime’s Forces Armées Rwandaises (FAR).

• From 1995 to 1997, he was the Chief of Plans, Operations and Training in the RPA Headquarters.

• Since 1997, Lt. Gen. Muhire has been the Commander of the Rwanda Air Force until he was appointed as Chief of Staff of the Reserve Force on April 10, 2010.

Lt. Gen. Muhire is a recipient of the RDF Medal of Honour, National Liberation Medal, the Campaign against Genocide Medal, Foreign Campaign Medal, Presidential Inauguration Medal, Command Service Ribbon, Combat Action Ribbon, and the Community Service Ribbon.

The new Reserve Force commander is married to Chantal Umubyeyi and they have four children.

Apart from the love for reading military literature as well as watching documentaries on military history, Lt. Gen. Charles Muhire loves Basketball, Swimming and Rugby, whenever he can spare the time.

Lt. Gen. Caesar Kayizari

The newly promoted and appointed

Army Chief of Staff

Born in February 1960, the new Army Chief of Staff was recently promoted from the rank of Major General to Lieutenant General. He took over from Lt. Gen. Charles Kayonga who was also elevated to the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) in the army.

Lt. Gen. Kayizari holds a Bachelors degree in Economics and Geography as well as a Masters degree in International Studies and Diplomacy.

Before taking over as the Army Chief of Staff, Lt Gen. Kayizari served as the Commander of the third Infantry Division. 

He has previously held several other senior posts in the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF), including; Chief of Training (1999-2000), Brigade Commander (1996-1998), Battalion Commander (1994-1996) and Director of Operations (1993-1994).

In 1995, he represented the army – then RPA, as a Member of Parliament, and from 2000-2003, he served as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence.

Furthermore, Lt. Gen. Kayizari has undertaken several military training courses including Command and General Staff College, Kansas-USA (1999) and National Defence College, Kenya (2005).

He is married and has four children, enjoys sports and has a great taste for the game of Chess.