RDF Command and Staff College inaugurated
President Paul Kagame urged senior command and staff of the Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) to become catalysts for the transformation of the society. The Head of State made the call on Monday while officially inaugurating the RDF senior Command and Staff College located in Nyakinama, Musanze district.
The new facility will offer courses to senior staff and command officers from major to colonel ranks. It has been established in partnership with Fort Leavenworth College and the UK’s Joint Services Command and Staff College.
President Kagame said the establishment of the college is a significant milestone in the development of the national armed forces. “It shows how far we have come in less than two decades in the pursuit of our vision to have the professional, highly effective and constantly improving force our country needs and deserves,” he pointed out.
In addition, the President called on graduates to go beyond the military area and be prepared to deal with all issues ranging from socio-economic to political ones, given that all security issues are not military in nature.
“The new course should be consistent with our country’s strategy of seeking lasting solutions to the challenges we face,” he urged the first intake. “Ultimately, the Command and Staff College graduates should be prepared to become catalysts for the transformation of our society.”
As the College is opening in the context of regional integration and increased cooperation, the head of state noted, it should also provide opportunities and means likely to strengthen capacity to deal with current and future security threats. Moreover, the facility should also be useful in developing national vision and values through research and documentation of what has been achieved, he mentioned.
“The virtues that have enabled us to overcome all forms of adversity in the past ought to be preserved and promoted through various means, including research,” Kagame said. “The fact that most students are players in their own history is a big advantage and this opportunity should not be missed.”
In response to this, Brig. Gen. Jean Jacques Mupenzi, the college commander, explained that emphasis will be put on Rwandan military history so as to carry out research in tactics used by ancient Rwandan fighters.
Apart from military history, the commander also mentioned that they will be offering courses including leadership and management, conflict management, international relations, political economy of Africa and research methods. The course, designed in modular system, will take 46 weeks. As the college offers a master’s degree, it recently signed a memorandum of understandings with the National University of Rwanda.
Though the first intake consists of 45 RDF officers, there are also plans to accept candidates from other security bodies such as the national police, national intelligence and security service and national correctional services in an effort to ensure sustainable peace, noted Lieutenant General Charles Kayonga, Chief of Defense Staff. In the context of regional integration, the new facility will also receive applicants from the region through exchange programs.
Apart from the RDF Command and Staff College in Nyakinama, Rwanda also has other facilities for military training including Gako Military Academy located in Bugesera district and Gabiro School of Infantry.