In his capacity as the Commander-In-Chief of the Rwanda Armed Forces, President Paul Kagame addressed security organs in the country on Monday as the year ends, marking the beginning of another year.
In his address, the president said that while, “the ending year has not been an easy one for anyone. And we shouldn’t expect 2018 to be any less challenging.”
He however reminded them that, this is “a timely opportunity for introspection as well as forward thinking on the core purpose, context and significance of your service to our Nation.”
Kagame’s speech comes at a critical time.
Recent events unfolding in Rwanda’s neighbors pose serious concerns, notably security related. The region is engulfed by rattling security threats and unpredictable economic and political waves.
Burundi is still a threat, with armed militias that have openly declared hostility against Rwanda. Tanzania is calm, but only God knows what they are thinking and planning.
In DR Congo, doors are always open for anything unsettling. The country continues and remains home to militias who regularly poke Rwanda in the eyes.
Now that Uganda has began firing live bullets and missiles in DRC, just a few hundreds of kilometers away from Rwanda, anything is possible, considering the fact that the Rwanda National Congress (RNC), a rebel group planing to destabilize Rwanda, has infiltrated Uganda.
Uganda is Rwanda’s closest ally that exists. But the sister country has now become home to RNC. The rebel group is actively recruiting from Uganda’s territory with the direct help of a section Uganda’s security organs.
More frighteningly, is Uganda’s recent marriage with the French, who harbour a natural hostility towards Rwanda’s current regime. France’s disguised military training of Uganda’s army is not something Rwanda takes lightly.
Rwanda knows France better than any country in the region. Rwanda has to remain vigilant and alert, especially that they are in a closer reach of a group that has publicly declared an armed struggle to overthrow Rwanda’s government.
Indeed, these scenarios are being taken seriously. In his speech, the President said that, there is need for “constant focus and vigilance.”
He said that, 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.”
Global events have also proven that sporadic events can spread beyond boarders. While Rwanda might not be affected directly, but spillovers have their own effects that can equally cause substantial damage to the security and economy.
Terrorism is real and alive. From norther Africa, Western and Central, full brown attacks have posted insecurity for the whole of 2017.
What takes place in the Middle East is a concern to all African countries. The past events seemed geographically placed far, but they inflicted direct damage to economies on the continent and also affected the relationship between African and the far east.
Positioning oneself to shield against these threats is paramount. For Rwanda, Kagame told men and women in uniform, “will ensure that we overcome any threats we may be confronted with…”
Read the full address below
Officers, men and women of the Rwanda Defence Force
On behalf of the Government of Rwanda, my family, and on my own behalf, I wish you and your families a Merry Christmas and a successful New Year 2018.
As we conclude the year 2017, we have a timely opportunity for introspection as well as forward thinking on the core purpose, context and significance of your service to our Nation, as men and women in uniform under the flag of Rwanda.
Throughout the year, at home and abroad, you have continued to serve with relentless commitment, and distinction to protect Rwanda and its people.
Here at home, your fellow citizens and residents have continued to enjoy the peace, safety and stability that enabled the socio-economic progress the country has continued to record amidst challenging circumstances at the regional and global levels.
Beyond our borders, in the various theaters where you participate in peace operations, you have continued to serve, with trademark steadfastness and professionalism, saving lives and contributing to peace and stability where they lack the most.
This is why many of you are not able to be with your loved ones during this festive season. Your noble sacrifice does not go unnoticed.
You have been powerful Ambassadors of Rwanda, consistently representing the best principles and values we stand for; sharing those with our brothers and sisters abroad, in true Rwandan spirit.
It is therefore fitting that we take the time to reflect on these efforts and achievements not only to give them the recognition they deserve, but also to find ways to further improve on them, for the benefit of our Nation.
Indeed, while the people of Rwanda have come to always expect the best, as they should; the fruits of you service to our Nation should never be taken for granted. They are the results of collective efforts and personal sacrifices of great significance to us all.
The ending year has not been an easy one for anyone. 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.
Officers, Men and Women – While we cannot always predict the future, the people of Rwanda can be assured of one fact; the same values and convictions that have enabled us overcome countless challenges, strengthened by the experience, skills, knowledge and assets we have continued to acquire over time, will ensure that we overcome any threats we may be confronted with, and that our Nation always emerges safer and stronger.
The beginning of a new year is also an opportunity to renew your pledge to our Nation.
In your thoughts and prayers, make sure you take the time to recommit yourselves, individually and collectively, to continuously build on past achievements, aiming for the highest possible standards in the performance of your service to the peoples of Rwanda.
Only then can you continue to deserve, the Nation’s trust and respect you have earned over the years. God bless you all and God bless our Nation.