The Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) on Friday held a send-off ceremony to honour the service of 816 personnel who had reached retirement age including some whose service contracts had come to an end.
Since 2013 the RDF retires its military personnel according to the Presidential Order No 32/01 of 03/09/2012 establishing Rwanda Defence Force Special Statute.
During the 2018 retirement phase, a total of 816 service personnel including 372 career Officers and Other Ranks retired and 395 military personnel concluded their service contracts with the RDF, while 49 others have been discharged on medical grounds.
In his speech at the send-off ceremony held at the RDF Headquarters Senior Officers Mess in Kimihurura, Gen. James Kabarebe, Minister for Defence, praised the retirees for their personal sacrifices, service rendered and contribution to the country.
“You have all contributed to the development of Rwanda personally and collectively at various stages, thank you for your bravery and commitment to the development of Rwanda, a nation that we are pride of, you have helped our Army to grow professionally, thank you for your invaluable contribution,” said Gen Kabarebe before adding that “retirement is a normal phase in a professional army. I urge you to remain loyal to RDF ethics and values in your new life”.
On behalf of the retirees, Major General (Retired) Jerome Ngendahimana expressed appreciation to the Commander-in-Chief and the entire RDF community for good leadership and inclusive government that enables equal participation of all citizens to national development including the former FDLR like him.
“It’s not common to see a government reaching out to its opponents to be part of government and build together their nation. I myself standing in front of you, I am a witness of that good leadership that promotes unity and reconciliation,” Ngendahimana said.
“I personally will never forget how in 2003, you helped my wife to approach me where I was hiding in the bushes of Congo, she even mobilized others to repatriate separately. The advice she gave us convinced us to repatriate in big numbers, we were welcomed and integrated, thank you,” He further stated.
Maj Gen (Rtd) Ngendahimana and other ex-FDLR Commander Maj Gen (Rtd) Paul Rwarakabije, along with dozens of soldiers surrendered to Rwanda Defence Force in 2003. He was integrated into RDF in 2003 where he served in different capacities and became Deputy RDF Reserve Force Chief of Staff from April 2010.
Ngendahimana added, “I take this opportunity to call upon those who are still in the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) and Rwanda National Congress dreaming of destabilizing Rwanda to cease dreaming because they can’t… they should instead repatriate and work together with others to develop our nation”.
Those who received their retirement certificates from the Minister of Defence include Maj Gen Jerome Ngendahimana, the former RDF Reserve Force Deputy Chief of Staff, Brig Gen Augustin Kashaija, Brig Gen Rugumya Gacinya, Col Geoffrey Kabagambe, Col Zuberi Muvunyi, Lt Col Francis Munyankindi, Lt Col Edmond Mukimbiri, Lt Col Ernest Habimana, Lt Col Athanase Kalisa, Lt Col Sam Rutayisire, Lt Col Alexis Ibambasi and Lt Col Karuranga Gatete among others.
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