Two high ranking military officers in the Rwanda Defence Force – Lt Gen Karenzi Karake and Maj Gen Jack Nziza have retired from the army, Chimp Corps report.
The two senior officers have served in some of the most sensitive positions in the country’s security organs for decades.
Gen Karake was the head of intelligence before being appointed Security and Defence Advisor to the President.
On the other hand, Nziza was the chief inspector of the armed forces, wielding considerable influence in the army.
Both officers were seen as strong allies and confidants of president Kagame.
The duo was among 817 service personnel who retired from the army or chose to terminate their contracts.
For the fifth time since 2013, the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) has been retiring its military personnel in accordance with the RDF Special Statute, according to the Ministry of Defence.
“During the 2017 retirement phase, a total of 817 service personnel including 369 career Officers and Other Ranks retired and 378 military personnel concluded their service contracts with the RDF, while 70 others are discharged on medical grounds,” reads a statement from the Rwanda Defence Ministry.
The colourful ceremony presided over by Gen James Kabarebe, the Minister of Defence and attended by RDF Chief of Defence Staff, Service Chiefs, Senior Officers, Retirees and their Spouses took place at Senior Officers’ Mess, in Kimihurura, on 17 July 2017.
Brig Gen John Gashayija Bagirigomwa was also among the retirees.
Gen James Kabarebe praised the retiring military personnel for their valued contribution in the liberation of Rwanda and stopping the Genocide against the Tutsi.
He urged the officers and men to use their experience and expertise to continue supporting the nation in whatever they will be engaged in, adding, “The country still needs your support and experience to develop.”
Lt Gen Karenzi who spoke on behalf of the Retiring Officers thanked the RDF leadership for advice and enduring values in their journey of military service.
“We are retired but not tired, we have had the honour to be part of a force that the Chairman of the High Command, then, referred to as ‘musingi wa chama’, and we have had the honour of serving under a very able, visionary and respectable leadership. It’s now the time to hang up our uniform, roll up the sleeves of our new dress and begin playing the role of a responsible citizen while keeping in mind our reserve responsibilities,” he said.
Similar send-off ceremonies were conducted for Junior Officers and other Ranks in their respective Units.