It has been reported how the Rwandan Defence Forces (RDF) are making positive strides towards becoming a full-fledged professional army.
In this regard, RDF has sent many of its officers to pursue professional courses and training in different reputable institutions across the world.
Many people will always associate the army with wars only. They are not to blame given the history attached to the military institution especially on the African continent.
Here in Rwanda, this history gets even an uglier coating. The notorious leadership of ex-FAR were the very people behind the planning and execution of the 1994 genocide against Tutsi.
For this, they failed on the cardinal role of the army; that of protecting the citizens.
RDF is a force with a different outfit. Its polished image and character has erased the inhumane perception and suspicion with which African armies have always been viewed.
RDF is a highly disciplined force whose vision is not detached from our general development agenda. Take for example the Army week.
Hundreds of civilians were treated by army doctors. Dozens if not hundreds of houses were constructed by the rank and file of this institution under the supervision of its professional engineers.
Roads were renovated, boreholes dug and terraces constructed----all for the common good of the nation.
Therefore, Rwandans no longer cringe at the thought of meeting a soldier.
Instead they view them as colleagues, working hand in hand for the common good of this nation.
The army is no longer a civilian’s foe. It’s instead a protector and friend.
But the RDF is not only making positive contributions here. It is flying high the Rwandan flag in foreign peace keeping missions where its character, defined by zero tolerance to indiscipline has won it admiration.
Therefore, as RDF continues to fly our flag, its quest to seek out professional skills that will ultimately transform them into a professional army is highly welcome.