Three top Generals are among a total of 817 Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) service personnel who were officially retired Monday, The New Times has learnt.
They are Lt Gen Emmanuel Karenzi Karake, Maj Gen Jack Nziza, and Brig Gen John Gashayija Bagirigomwa.
A discharge ceremony, which took place at the Senior Officers’ Mess in Kimihurura, was presided over by Defence minister James Kabarebe, and attended by RDF Service Chiefs, and the retiring officers and their spouses.
Karake is the presidential advisor on security affairs, while Nziza has been serving as chief of J-9 (civil-military relations) at the Ministry of Defence.
Gashayija has been serving as the Reserve Force Commander in the Eastern Region.
Also retired is Lt. Col. Rene Ngendahimana, who was until yesterday serving as the Legal Advisor at RDF and Acting Defence and Military Spokesperson.
Brig Gen Ferdinard Safari, the director general, policy and strategy at the Ministry of Defence, is the new acting Defence and Military Spokesperson.
This was the fifth time the RDF was discharging its military personnel since 2013 in accordance with the Force’s Special Statute, according to a statement.
Some 747 personnel concluded their service contracts, while 70 others were discharged on medical grounds.
Kabarebe thanked the officers, men and women who have been retired for their “outstanding contribution” during the liberation of Rwanda and campaign to stop the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
“On behalf of the Commander-in-Chief, I wish to extend our gratitude and appreciation to those who are retiring today for their selflessness in the liberation struggle and contribution to the process of developing their country,” he said.
He urged the retired servicemen and women to go forth and use their experience and expertise to further help develop the nation in their new life. "The country still needs your support and experience.”
Lt Gen Karake, who spoke on behalf of the retiring servicemen and women, thanked the RDF leadership, in particular the Commander-in-Chief, President Paul Kagame, for his guidance and advice over the years.
“We are retired but not tired, we have had the honour to be part of a force under the leadership of the Chairman of the High Command, 'musingi wa chama'…we have had the honour of serving under a very able, visionary and respectable leadership,” he said.
“It’s now the time to hang up our uniform, roll up the sleeves of our new dress and begin playing the role of a responsible citizen while keeping in mind our reserve responsibilities,” he said.
Similar send-off ceremonies were conducted for junior officers in their respective units.