The army week has proved that the Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) is the people’s army; they did this by giving a big hand in activities that have been exclusively meant for civilians. This is a rare attitude for a typical African army.
In Africa, more particularly Sub-Saharan, the army is usually associated with evil and destruction. The former Rwandan armed forces were involved in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
This army raped children and women, killed babies and innocent men and women in the broad daylight. This kind of history is now past tense. I stand to be challenged, but the RDF is the most disciplined institution in the country.
One of the fundamental changes Rwanda’s liberation brought was reshaping of the army. It would be terrible if the army continued to be a threat to the public in the 21st century.
We are happy to note that the army today cannot be used to help those wishing to harm the Rwandan population.
It is however, lamentable that in ‘some’ African countries, the reverse is still the order of the day. Without naming particular countries, it is on record that meeting army personnel or the police is the worst thing one would wish.
When one is in problems, he or she would rather keep silent rather than talking to the army or police.
This is because the security personnel would put you in more danger than you were in the first place. Luckily for us, the RDF would offer its might to help a civilian in danger.
In other words, the RDF is the people’s army, fighting the people’s wars. The RDF has demonstrated this by helping people affected by natural hazards-we should remember how deeply they were involved in helping those affected by the recent earthquake.
Furthermore, their involvement in international humanitarian mission across Africa attests to my assertions that the RDF is a pro-people army.
They have fought tooth and nail to save the people of Darfur-some even have lost their lives saving people whose language they can’t speak. This is the impeccable army I am talking about.
We cannot emphasize further the fact that the 1994 liberation helped the country to demystify the most dangerous and cheap weapon-the AK 47Kalashnikov.
This is due to the fact that the weapon became cheap as a result of so many rebellions and wars, that left the weapon scattered all over the continent.
Though the gun played a significant role in many important revolutions across Sub-Saharan Africa, it unfortunately ended in the hands of thugs and bandits. These groups terrorized and killed innocent people in the region.
The weapon thus scared people just on sight because it had created havoc in the country for quite a long time. The mere sight of the gun would thus send the whole community in disarray.
After the Liberation, many people were trained how to use the weapon in a program popularly known as Ingando.
Consequently, the majority of Rwandan adults has had the training, and cannot easily be frightened by the mere sight of the gun. Did you know that thugs could rob people with unloaded guns because of their psychological fear?
Giving the people training deters potential bad elements in the army who would want to use the gun wrongly. A bad soldier will never feel safe when attacking civilians with some military skills.
I do not in the same line agree with critics of Ingando that training civilians is militarising the state.
It is empowering the population with desired life skills. RDF is indeed the people’s army-the real army of the 21st century.