Kigali, 17 July 2017
For the fifth time since 2013, the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) retires its military personnel in accordance with the RDF Special Statute. 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.
The colourful ceremony presided over by Hon. 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.
Among the retirees include Lt Gen E Karenzi Karake, Maj Gen Jack Nziza and Brig Gen John Gashayija Bagirigomwa.
In his keynote address, Gen James Kabarebe deeply thanked the retiring military personnel for their valued contribution in the liberation of Rwanda and stopping the Genocide against the Tutsi. “On behalf of the Commander-in-Chief, I wish to extend the gratitude and appreciation to those who are retiring today for their selflessness in the liberation struggle and contribution to the process of developing their country" Honorable Minister of Defense said.
He urged the officers and men to use their experience and expertise to continue supporting the nation in whatever they will be engaged in, "The country still needs your support and experience to develop ", Gen Kabarebe told the Retirees.
Lt Gen E Karenzi Karake who spoke on behalf of the Retiring Officers thanked the RDF Leadership, the RDF Commander-in-Chief, HE President Paul Kagame, in particular, 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.
In accordance with the RDF Special Statute article 82 (Retirement for a career soldier) the retirement age for a career Officer or Senior Non Commissioned Officer is the following:
1º General Officer: fifty five (55) years;
2º Senior Officer: fifty (50) years;
3º Junior Officer or Senior Non-Commissioned
Officer: forty five (45) years.
In the interest of service the authority entrusted with the power of promotion may extend the retirement age for a career Officer or Senior Non-Commissioned Officer. The extended period shall not exceed five (5) years.