President Kagame today commissioned 240 new cadet officers into the Rwanda Defence Force at the Gako Military Academy.
In his speech after officially commissioning the new army officers, President Kagame congratulated and welcomed the officers to the Rwanda Defence Force. He also acknowledged the presence of graduates from countries around the region who chose to undergo training in Rwanda at the Gako Military Academy.
“I wish to acknowledge your endurance and your dedication to the military institution, motivated, no doubt, by your desire to uphold our countries’ honour and integrity.  May I also acknowledge the presence of graduates from our friends in the region and beyond who chose to come and undergo this rigorous training in our country and did well.  I should also thank our other guests from our brother and sister country of Ethiopia who are represented here by the Ministry of Defense and Chief of Defence staff”, he said.

President Kagame told the newly commissioned officers that the training they had underwent was to prepare them for duties which they would be called upon to undertake as directed by the national command authorities including international peacekeeping operations at defending peace and security. He pointed out that the proper training that they had received underscores the soldier’s mental, moral and physical qualities. “Without proper training, even a large and seemingly powerful force may not have good results in the end in the duties they undertake. Therefore, training -proper training is part and parcel and a priority for any force to be effective and efficient,” Said the President, adding that the new officers are now equipped with virtues that foster professional competence, disciopline, personal responsibility, teamwork and mental and physical prowess, qualities he said are critically important.
“The training has also instilled in you moral courage, integrity, commitment and loyalty to your cause and comrades and the will to overcome even the most challenging circumstances. Above all, I am sure you will have the heightened sense of service to your country,” he said, pointing out to the young officers that these are the same principles that guided and informed their predecessors who led the country’s liberation and now play a critical role in maintaining the peace and security required for Rwandans’ wellbeing and their social and economic development.

President Kagame cautioned that leadership is a matter that should not be taken lightly. He said that while at the national level and international politics leadership is an indispensable factor for good governance while at the military strategic level, leadership often means a difference between life and death, success and defeat, making leadership critical to both political and military success because you may have all the resources at your disposal yet without leadership, all opportunities would be lost. He however cautioned that becoming a good leader is a matter of choice because one may undergo training, spend time learning about concepts of leadership and have role models but in the end, he said, one has to choose between so many things to do and how to do them; to lead with courage, without fear or favour and to lead without compromising on principles for the benefit of the people being served. “We have seen many bad examples in our own country and elsewhere on our continent,” he said.

President Kagame urged the young officers and those who are already on the force to maintain the sense of duty and responsibility and keep self-seekers and individuals at bay and stop them from reversing the freedoms, integrity and dignity of the people that were fought for. “In the case of our country, there are many examples as we witnessed people riding on resources and will our country and abused their sense of responsibility out of selfishness. But we should remain that institution and the people who fought so hard to liberate ourselves and be able to uphold accountability and have no apology for anybody who fails the demands of that accountability.

“Again it’s a question of choice. We can choose to be those people that hold ourselves and each other accountable and build on that for our people’s social and economic transformation, or we can decide to live as individuals satisfy ourselves by doing things that will disadvantage the people we lead and hence remain impoverished, begging, whipped every day and night by those who provide for you –it’s all a choice! Or fill your stomach by stealing from the public resources, ride on short stories of the past; the liberation that you were part of and flee the country and live on the loot,” the President said, emphasizing that security for all Rwandans will be seen in a combination of factors including defending the national sovereignty and territorial integrity and human security which entails social and economic development, good governance, access to vital services by the people, rights and other freedoms. He alerted the newly commissioned officers on the challenges that lie ahead on the road towards the development of the nation and assured neighbours, friends in Africa and beyond that Rwanda will always seek to work together with them  in the pursuit of mutual benefits knowing that all concerned deserve the development and the dignity that comes with it.