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The Minister

General James KABAREBE is the ninth Minister for Defence since Rwanda became independent in 1962. The Minister for Defence is responsible to the Government for all matters concerning the Defence policy, the conduct of Defence and implementation of Defence programmes.

General James KABAREBE was the first Joint Commander of Rwanda Defence Force since the Rwandan Armed Forces adopted a joint structure in 2002.

General KABAREBE was born in 1959. He attended Makerere University, where he received a Bachelor of arts Degree in Economics and Political Science. He was commissioned in 1989.

General KABAREBE has held various military appointments with the following as his main career highlights:

  • During the war of liberation; he served as the Aide-de-Camp to the Chairman of the High Command (CHC) and later as his Military Assistant;
  • From 1994 to 1997, he was the Commander of Republican Guard Brigade; Chief of Plans, Operations and Training of the RPA; the forward Operations Commander during the 1996/97 campaign in the former Zaire (Now the Democratic Republic of Congo);
  • From May 1997 to August 1998, he was appointed by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as the "Chef d’Etat Major Général";
  • From 1998 to 2001, he served in different capacities i.e. as Deputy Chief of Staff of the Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA);
  • From 2001 to 2002, he was appointed the Chief of Staff of the Rwanda Patriotic Army and in July 2002, he was appointed as the Chief of Defence Staff, a post that he held until he became the Minister of Defence on 10th April 2010.

General James Kabarebe is a recipient of the National Liberation Medal, Campaign against Genocide Medal, Foreign Campaign Medal, Presidential Inauguration Medal, Command Service Ribbon, Combat Action Ribbon, and the Community Service Ribbon.

General KABAREBE is married to Espérance MUDENGE with whom he has three children.


Ministers Timeline
1962 - 1965
Mr Calliope MULINDAHABI
1965 - 1991
Maj Gen Juvenal HABYARIMANA
1991 - 1992
Col Augustin NDINDIRIYIMANA
1992 - 1993
Dr James GASANA
1993 - 1994
Mr Augustin BIZIMANA
1994 - 2000
Maj Gen Paul KAGAME
2000 - 2002
Brig Gen Emmanuel HABYARIMANA
2002 - 2010
Gen Marcel GATSINZI
2010 - Present
Gen James KABAREBE