In response to recent coup uprisings in certain African nations, Rwanda and Cameroon introduced substantial changes to their security forces on Wednesday, August 30.
In Rwanda, President Paul Kagame initiated the retirement of numerous soldiers, coinciding with the promotion of several young personnel within the nation’s security structure. Additionally, new Generals were appointed to lead various army divisions stationed across different regions of Rwanda.
According to an announcement from the Rwanda Defense Force (RDF), these changes were implemented by Kagame. It showed he had “approved the retirement of a dozen generals, 83 senior officers and six junior officers.”
Kagame also granted authorization for the retirement of 86 senior non-commissioned officers, as outlined in the statement.
A total of 678 soldiers concluded their service after their contracts came to an end, while another 160 individuals were discharged due to medical reasons.
The statement highlighted that several veterans from the 1994 liberation war in Rwanda, including Gen. James Kabarebe, Gen. Fred Ibingira, and Lt. Gen. Charles Kayonga, were among those who retired. Both Kabarebe and Kayonga had previously held the position of chief of defense staff of the Rwandan army at different times.
Prior to his retirement, General Kabarebe held the position of special advisor to the president on security.
Earlier on the same day, Kagame also elevated a group of young officers to the rank of colonel and designated new generals to lead military divisions.
The list of retirees encompassed Lt. Gen. Frank Mushyo Kamanzi, who currently serves as Rwanda’s ambassador to Russia, and Maj. Gen. Albert Murasira, a former defense minister.
According to reports from local media, a portion of the retired individuals had reached the age of 65, while others were implicated in various instances of misconduct.
“The president has also approved the retirement of 83 senior officers, 06 junior officers and 86 senior NCOS, 678 end of contract and 160 medical discharges,” the statement partly read.
In June, Kagame appointed Juvenal Marizamunda as the new defense minister, succeeding Albert Murasira, who had occupied the role since 2018.
While the statement did not explicitly mention the factors leading to the retirement of more than 600 military officers, the president had previously engaged with influential figures, emphasizing the importance of maintaining national unity.
“Our history has been an example of how destructive division can be. We have also seen that it is our unity that has led to our country’s transformation. We have people who lost their family members, others who have family members who are perpetrators, everyone has suffered the consequences of division. The only solution to this is unity. We cannot accept to return to the destructive practice of division. That would be self destruction.” President Kagame said.
Although, some have seen the move as a hasty decision to prevent a coup.
Meanwhile, in Cameroon, President Paul Biya, one of Africa’s most enduring leaders, carried out fresh appointments within the Defense Ministry’s central administrative unit, according to a decree that was publicly shared on social media.
Remaining mostly in Switzerland, Biya is ensuring a firm hold on the nation, as he promptly reorganized personnel within the army, air force, and marine units, leaving nothing to chance.
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