924 officers of the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) were affected by the military shakeup on Wednesday, new facts that emerged have shown.
In a tweet from Africa Facts Zone, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda announced a major shakeup, which included the retirement of 83 senior officials, 86 senior non-commissioned officers, 6 junior officers, 678 end-of-contract retirees, and 160 soldiers who were discharged on medical grounds.
On top of the list in this major shakeup are James Kabarebe and Fred Ibingira, both Generals in the RDF.
Who is James Kabarebe?
James Kabarebe is a Rwandan military officer and politician. He was born on March 17, 1959, in Rwanda. He is known for his involvement in the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and its military wing, the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA).
Kabarebe played a significant role in the RPF’s struggle to end the Rwandan Civil War and the Rwandan Genocide in the 1990s.
He served as the Chief of Staff of the RPA during this period and played a key role in the RPF’s capture of Kigali in 1994, which effectively ended the genocide.
After the RPF came to power in Rwanda, Kabarebe continued to hold important positions in the Rwandan military and government. He served as the Minister of Defence and held other influential roles.
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Who is Fred Ibingira?
Fred Ibingira is a senior military officer from Rwanda. He is known for his involvement in the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and its military wing, the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA).
Ibingira, the only Hutu within the RPF, played a significant role in the organisation’s struggle to end the Rwandan Civil War and the Rwandan Genocide in the 1990s.
He is often associated with the RPA’s military operations during that period, including the capture of Kigali in 1994, which effectively ended the genocide.
Ibingira held high-ranking positions within the Rwandan military, and his military leadership was crucial to the RPF’s victory.
Regardless of the changes in the RDF, many have questioned the sit-tight syndrome of many African leaders, whose grip over power continued to stifle growth in democracy on the continent.
Kagame is the longest-serving leader of a country that experienced one of the worst human crimes ever committed on Earth—after the Jewish holocaust perpetuated by Adolf Hitler in the Second World War.
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Over 800,000 ethnic Tutsis, a minority group to which Kagame belongs, and moderate Hutus and Twa were killed in the 100-day civil war.
Since Kagame became president, Rwanda has turned from a war-ravaged country into an economic powerhouse on the continent, with World Economics estimating that the small East African country’s purchasing power parity (PPP) was worth $32 billion at the end of 2022.
According to the IMF, Rwanda’s economy is expected to reach $48.96 billion this year.
The rapid economic growth is often credited to President Kagame’s adoption of new ideologies. His policies have fostered transparency in both governance and business practices, resulting in enhanced utilisation of abundant resources like tin, tantalum, and tungsten (commonly referred to as the 3Ts).
Moreover, these policies have facilitated the expansion of Rwanda’s export portfolio to include gold, gemstones, silica sands, kaolin, vermiculite, diatomite, clays, limestone, talcum, gypsum, and pozzolan.
Regrettably for Kagame, his 23-year-long authoritative rule in Rwanda, characterised by limited tolerance for political dissent, has encountered substantial opposition on Twitter.
Endless @realJohnAbu was, however, unimpressed with the rule of Kagame, explaining that most of the development in Rwanda is only in the capital city, Kigali. He tweeted, “An Rwandan will tell you everything starts and ends in the capital, Kigali. Other provinces are very underdeveloped and impoverished.”
Alan Bloody, @AlanBloody, was full of praise for Kagame, seeing how the leader has transformed the tiny east African country. He tweeted, “We never change a winning team. We love him. He has nothing to be worried for.”
Other tweets show that the Rwandan leader is deeply loved by his citizens and may not support a coup against him.