On Wednesday, Paul Kagame, the president of Rwanda and commander-in-chief of the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF), ordered the retirement of 930 junior troops and 95 military generals.
General James Kabarebe, the nation’s former Minister of Defense and Chief of Defense Staff, is first on the list of retirees.
In a statement posted on the official website of the Rwanda Defense Force on Wednesday, those impacted were identified.
The statement coincided with recent military takeovers in Gabon and the Niger Republic.
General Kabarebe was the president’s personal security advisor from his appointment till his retirement.
According to local media, some retirees had reached the retirement age of 65, while others had been charged with wrongdoing.
“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.
The president of Uganda elevated some lieutenant colonels to the ranks of colonels and brigade commanders before they retired.
Although the statement did not explicitly specify the causes behind the retirement of more than 600 military commanders, the president had previously spoken to opinion leaders about the need 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.
In response to the news, some users on X (previously Twitter) said it was a coup prevention technique, while others praised the troops for their more than three decades of service to the country.
Checkout the tweet below
— Rwanda Defence Force (@RwandaMoD) August 30, 2023