KIGALI - A three-day retreat, by the top leadership of the Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF), aimed at strengthening the military institution, started yesterday at Prime Holdings in Kimihurura.
The retreat brought together general and senior officers of the force, military attachés from Rwanda’s diplomatic missions overseas and representatives from the Reserve Force.
In his opening remarks, the Minister of Defence, Gen. James Kabarebe urged the army top brass to work hard in overcoming the challenges that the country faces.
“We are gathered here to reassess the threats facing our country, to determine where we are, where we want to go, how we want to go there, and the means at our disposal,” he said.
Emphasizing President Paul Kagame’s advise to the forces, Kabarebe said that RDF should strive for excellence, to compete favorably on the international arena.
“To quote the Commander -in- Chief (President Kagame), ‘we must develop the capacity to survive in a complex and competitive world; we must achieve much with little input; we must be innovative and not wasteful; we shall continue to demand for maximum output from individuals’,” Kabarebe said.
He reminded the top RDF leaders that the force has come from being small and weak to a highly professional and strong one that is internationally recognised.
Kabarebe also told the army leaders that the country is still facing a large number of challenges, which are mostly caused by the bad history that the country has gone through.
He challenged the officers to tackle the challenges with determination.
“The challenges facing our country are enormous. We cannot overcome these challenges unless we learn to think outside the box,” he said.
“At the end of this retreat we are expected to come up with a validated strategic plan for the RDF as well as concrete, realistic, achievable and time-bound programmes and actions that will enhance the capability of the RDF as well as its trust and confidence by the population.”
The RDF, held a similar gathering in 2008 in Gicumbi District, which aimed at assessing the contribution of the defence sector to the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS) and to the overall country’s Vision 2020.
The Gicumbi retreat had also reviewed RDF Vision, priorities and challenges; RDF restructuring; logistics and procurement planning; Threats to national defence and personnel, among others.