Good morning.

I am pleased to join you to commission the officer cadets gathered here before us.

Let me start by congratulating all of you, who have successfully completed your course, and are graduating today.

Getting to this point required determination, diligence, and discipline.

You should be proud of this achievement, and feel inspired to work even harder, and reach ever higher, in the military profession.

The Rwanda Defence Force has a unique history and background.

Working hand-in-hand with citizens has enabled Rwanda to continually make progress. I urge you to never lose this spirit.

Transforming our country requires a strong, professional, and disciplined army.

This army is made up by individual officers, the men and women of the RDF. The personal commitment and conduct of each one is necessary to strengthen the capabilities and reputation of our forces.

Because of RDF’s mission, and what it stands for, Rwandans and residents feel reassured, and are able to enjoy what our country has to offer.

There are many reasons why we are building our capabilities: We are building our strength and capacity, and that should not be seen as a threat by anyone outside Rwanda.

Instead, starting with our close neighbours and other nations, we want to have good diplomatic relations, and we shall do everything in our power to make it a reality, starting with our southern, eastern, western, and even northern neighbours.

But the reason why we build that capacity is to secure our country so that we can build on our security to move forward. But also, to ensure that in case we are faced with any kind of terrorism, we would be able to deal with it properly.

Whatever would threaten our sovereignty, wherever it would come from, this capacity would be put to good use. We don’t want to use it outside the country to terrorize or harm anybody. No. We only want to use it to protect ourselves from any threat that may arise.

And it should be understood that whoever would want to destabilize or violate our country’s sovereignty would not like the result. It would be very costly; it would cost a heavy price. It would require an expensive cost that one cannot think of.

But for us, we are focused on building our capabilities in order, among others, to be able to help establish security wherever we are called upon.

This can be seen in the different missions where we were called upon to work with our friends, other nations, and even with the United Nations, to build or restore peace to countries that lack it. Each time we responded swiftly and positively.

To conclude on this point, I want to remind members of the RDF, especially those who have been commissioned today that as you begin your journey towards leadership roles within the RDF, you must keep in mind that this job is, first and foremost, about service to Rwandans.

It is a responsibility that you must never take lightly so that the RDF continues to build itself as an institution and contribute whenever called upon; be it in neighbouring countries or in other, especially, African nations.

The Rwanda Military Academy continues to build capacity for more sophisticated academic and military training.

I thank the instructors, the leadership of the Academy, and of the RDF, for making steady progress.

Those who have the privilege to study or train here, must take full advantage of what is offered, and contribute to the growth of this institution.

I would like to conclude by once again congratulating the officers commissioned today.

I also thank your families and friends who have supported you throughout your training, although they could not be present here with you today, because of the pandemic.

Once again, we wish you the very best as you move into your new roles as RDF officers, and assure you of our steadfast support.

RDF is like a family to which we all belong, and I would like to say that it is a wonderful family that we all enjoy being part of. That good reputation should continue to mark you as you also contribute to building is as we transform our country.

I thank you.