A new report indicates that 924 officers within the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) experienced significant changes during a military restructuring on Wednesday. President Paul Kagame of Rwanda announced a transformation, which included the retirement of 83 senior officials, 86 senior non-commissioned officers, 6 junior officers, 678 individuals whose contracts had come to an end, and 160 soldiers who were discharged due to medical reasons.
Notably, at the forefront of this list were Generals James Kabarebe and Fred Ibingira, both prominent figures within the RDF.
What you should know about James Kabarebe
James Kabarebe, born on March 17, 1959, in Rwanda, is a notable Rwandan military officer and politician. His prominence stems from his active involvement with the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and its military arm, the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA). Kabarebe played a pivotal role in the RPF’s efforts to bring an end to the Rwandan Civil War and the devastating Rwandan Genocide during the 1990s.
Serving as the Chief of Staff of the RPA during this tumultuous period, he played a crucial part in the RPF’s capture of Kigali in 1994, which effectively quelled the genocide. Subsequently, following the RPF’s assumption of power in Rwanda, Kabarebe continued to occupy influential positions within the Rwandan military and government, including the role of Minister of Defence, among others.
What you should know about Fred Ibingira
Fred Ibingira, a senior military officer hailing from Rwanda, is recognized for his active engagement with the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and its military branch, the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA). Notably, Ibingira, the sole Hutu member within the RPF, played a pivotal role in the organization’s efforts to bring an end to the Rwandan Civil War and the tragic Rwandan Genocide during the 1990s.
His contributions were particularly evident in the RPA’s military operations during this period, prominently including the capture of Kigali in 1994, which effectively halted the genocide. Within the Rwandan military hierarchy, Ibingira held prestigious positions, and his military leadership played a vital role in securing victory for the RPF.
Kegame’s transformative rule
The transformations within the RDF have caused numerous individuals to raise concerns about the enduring “sit-tight” phenomenon among several African leaders. This persistent hold on power has hindered the advancement of democracy across the continent.
It’s worth noting that Kagame holds the distinction of being the longest-serving leader in a nation that endured one of the most horrific atrocities in human history, akin to the Jewish holocaust perpetrated by Adolf Hitler during the Second World War. During the 100-day civil war, over 800,000 lives were tragically lost, including ethnic Tutsis, a minority group to which Kagame belongs, as well as moderate Hutus and Twa.
Since Kagame assumed the presidency, Rwanda has undergone a remarkable transformation, transitioning from a war-torn nation into an economic juggernaut on the African continent. World Economics estimates that by the close of 2022, Rwanda’s purchasing power parity (PPP) amounted to an impressive $32 billion.
The consistent surge in Rwanda’s economy
The IMF predicts that Rwanda’s economy will surge to $48.96 billion this year. This rapid economic growth is largely attributed to President Kagame’s embrace of new ideologies. His policies have ushered in transparency in both governance and business practices, leading to more efficient utilization of abundant resources like tin, tantalum, and tungsten, collectively known as the “3Ts.”
Furthermore, these policies have facilitated the diversification of Rwanda’s export portfolio to encompass gold, gemstones, silica sands, kaolin, vermiculite, diatomite, clays, limestone, talcum, gypsum, and pozzolan.
Rwanda’s citizen’ views on social media
Unfortunately for Kagame, his 23-year-long authoritative reign in Rwanda, marked by a narrow tolerance for political dissent, has faced significant opposition on Twitter. However, there are those who remain unimpressed with Kagame’s leadership, pointing out that much of the development in Rwanda is concentrated in the capital city, Kigali. On the other hand, there is a contingent of citizens who hold Kagame in high regard, acknowledging how he has brought about a remarkable transformation in the small East African nation. These tweets reflect a deep affection for the Rwandan leader among his citizens, suggesting that there may be little support for any coup attempts against him.
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