Ever wondered why ex-Defense Minister Gen James Kabarebe usually just claps when everyone else is singing their hearts out during morale boosting sessions?
A study: “Singing the Struggle: The Rwandan Patriotic Front’s ideology through its songs of liberation” by Benjamin Chemouni and Rwandan Assumpta Mugiraneza documents the role of song in the RPA/F led liberation struggle.
In their journey marked by bravery, suffering, resilience and triumph, RPA fighters and RPF cadres who mobilized for the struggle, were accompanied by songs of liberation that warmed their way to triumph. The tradition was also so strong in the diaspora. The Chronicles detailed this culture in our special report “Songs Of Liberation: The Music That Kept RPA Rebels Warmed Up For Battle“.
The tradition has been carried on to date. At government functions, there will be regular musical interludes. But one person will usually just be clapping his hands unenthusiastically. Many people may have not noticed this on Kabarebe.
This is the story of Four-Star Gen James Kabarebe. At closing function on Thursday for weeklong Itorero for 1,623 teachers of history from secondary schools nationwide in Nyanza district, Kabarebe urged the teachers to strive to leave the best possible impact on their students.
Gen Kabarebe who had all his education in Uganda up to Makerere University had praise for an unnamed teacher who he said taught him the English language so well, reason he masters the language.
However, Kabarebe said there are equally horrible teachers who leave everlasting negative impact on their students and, that the teachers he was addressing should never be one of them.
Kabarebe said there is a teacher who often made it a point to repeatedly stop him singing in class with other students “because I was Rwandan”.
Up until today, Kabarebe says he only claps but never opens his mouth or move his lips in any way during singing sessions.
It seems the trauma of being silenced has remained in him, and it happens to him unknowingly.
Gen Kabarebe’s speech, like all his colourful speeches, touched on many different other subjects.
Kabarebe is currently Security and Defense Advisor to President Kagame. He is very much sought after to speak at national functions.