In his 2017 message to the armed forces, Kagame said the ending year has not been “an easy one” for anyone.
He emphasised: “And we shouldn’t expect 2018 to be any less challenging. As we have seen time and again, global and regional dynamics always tend to evolve in ways that bring new security challenges, some of which need to be confronted at very short notice, with discernment and decisiveness. This calls for your constant focus and vigilance.”
The promotions, which were announced on Friday morning by RDF spokesperson, Lt Col I Munyengango, come against the backdrop of reports that Rwanda National Congress (RNC) was setting up military camps in the hilly areas of Minembwe, Eastern DRC.
Rwanda is currently struggling to improve its ties with neighbours Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and DRC.
If confirmed that RNC, led by dissident General Kayumba Nyamwasa, is indeed mobilising fighters and weaponry at Minembwe, Kagame has reason to boost morale of his army.
“We don’t take anything for granted especially if it’s to do with national security,” said a source, who preferred anonymity to speak freely.
Most of the promoted officers have served in specialised combat operations while others are senior military intelligence officers.
Key among the promoted officers includes Reserve Force commander, Lt Gen Fred Ibingira who has been elevated to the rank of General.
His docket of war veterans remains critical during these challenging times.
Army Chief of Staff, Maj Gen Jacques Musemakweli has since been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General.
Observers will argue that Musemakweli is being rewarded for loyalty and effectiveness, having successfully served for years as Republican Guard Commander.
Many see Musemakweli as a potential future candidate for the position of Chief of Defence Staff.
Musemakweli is responsible to the Chief of Defence Staff in all matters concerning Command, Control and Management of the Army Services.
RDF top brass includes Chief of Defence Staff, Army Chief of Staff, Air Force Chief of Staff and Reserve Force Chief of Staff.
In the latest promotions, Airforce Chief of Staff, Brigadier Charles Karamba has been promoted to the rank of Major General.
Karamba previously served as Commandant RDF’s Command and Staff College and headed several Brigades and Divisions.
He also led the Corporate Head of RDF Research and Development and had a stint in diplomacy as the Defense Attaché in Ethiopia and Eritrea as well as serving as senior UN military officer at a post of Deputy Chief Of Staff, UNMISS, Republic of South Sudan.
Karamba has a Master of Science in National Security Strategy from US National Defense University/National War College and attended Senior Command and Staff Courses in Ghana.
He participated in the RPA liberation struggle and the last appointment was Head of intelligence in the 3rd Battalion stationed in CND (Parliament) building during the final days of Campaign Against Genocide.
Kagame also promoted to Major General Eric Murokore, commander of Western region Reserve Forces.
Brigadier Emmy Ruvusha, who commands RDF’s 2nd Division, was promoted to the rank of Major General.
The Division operates along the borders of Uganda and DRC, securing Rwanda against armed elements from Kivu.
Kagame also promoted the secretary general at the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), Brigadier Joseph Nzabamwita to the rank of Major General.
Nzabamwita, who also served in DRC, was until a few years ago the RDF spokesperson.
Below is the full list of promoted army officers:
- His Excellency the President and Commander in Chief of Rwanda Defence Force has promoted RDF Officers and approved the promotion of Other Ranks as follows:
- From Lieutenant General to General – 1
(1) Fred IBINGIRA
- From Major General to Lieutenant General – 1
(1) Jacques MUSEMAKWELI
- From Brigadier General to Major General – 12
(1) Charles KARAMBA
(2) Eric MUROKORE
(3) Emmy RUVUSHA
(4) Emmanuel BAYINGANA
(5) Joseph NZABAMWITA
(6) Andrew KAGAME
(7) Charles RUDAKUBANA
(8) Aloys MUGANGA
(9) Ferdinand SAFARI
(10) Albert MURASIRA
(11) Jean Jacques Laurent MUPENZI
(12) Innocent KABANDANA
- From Colonel to Brigadier General – 6
(1) John Bosco NGIRUWONSANGA
(2) John Bosco RUTIKANGA
(3) Vincent NYAKARUNDI
(4) Francis MUTIGANDA
(5) Fred MUZIRAGUHARARA
(6) Willy RWAGASANA
- From Lieutenant Colonel to Colonel – 14
- From Major to Lieutenant Colonel – 68
- From Captain to Major – 79
- From Lieutenant to Captain – 11
- From Second Lieutenant to Lieutenant – 457
- A number of Non-Commissioned Officers were also promoted in their respective categories.
- Congratulations to all those who have been promoted.
Meanwhile, Kagame also promoted 1015 Rwanda National Police Officers as follows:
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) to Commissioner of Police (CP) – 10
(1) ACP Faustin Ntirushwa
(2) ACP Theos Badege
(3) ACP Jean Marie Twagirayezu
(4) ACP Rogers Rutikanga
(5) ACP William Kayitare
(6) ACP Denis Basabose
(7) ACP Vincent Sano
(8) ACP Robert Niyonshuti
(9) ACP Egide Ruzigamanzi
(10) ACP Rafiki Mujiji
- Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) promoted to Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) – 31
- Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) promoted to Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) – 18
- Superintendent of Police (SP) promoted to Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) – 43
- Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) promoted to Superintendent of Police (SP) – 110
- Inspector of Police (IP) promoted to Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) – 403
- Chief Sergeant promoted to Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) – 01
- Sergeant promoted to Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) – 02
- Assistant Inspector of Police (AIP) promoted to Inspector of Police (IP) – 391
- Chief Sergeant promoted to Assistant Inspector of Police (AIP) – 02
- Senior Sergeant promoted to Assistant Inspector of Police (AIP) – 01
- Sergeant promoted to Assistant Inspector of Police (AIP) – 03