The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Kagame Commissions 300 Officer Cadets

More than 300 Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) officer cadets successfully completed a one-year military training course at the Rwanda Military Academy (RMA) in Gako, Eastern Province.

President Paul Kagame officiated at the pass-out ceremony where he reminded the new cadets of what the Rwandan people expect of them.

"Rwandans look up to you as a source of protection, inspiration and leadership. This places a heavy responsibility on you to embody Rwanda's core values and principles," Kagame told the Cadets.

The President added that Rwandans and their leadership expect them to combine the professional skills they have acquired with RDF's core values - loyalty, honour, patriotism, courage and integrity.

"You must continually be aware of the noble mission of defending the nation's territorial integrity and the maintenance of peace and security which is crucial for Rwanda's continuous progress," Kagame said.

"The occasion marks an important milestone for each of you; you are now officers and leaders, you will be leading troops or staff in peace or war, at home or abroad, whether deployed as RDF troops or part of multilateral or multinational contingents," Kagame observed.

The Head of State called upon the officer cadets to demonstrate high standards of individual military competence and set the best example in their personal and professional lives.

"In short you will have to show leadership, this however is only the first of many increasingly demanding tests you will go through in your career as RDF officers."

"You have just taken an oath as new members of the RDF officers core and that oath should not be taken lightly, rather it should always be a reminder that you will be held accountable on the basis of the competencies, virtues and attitude expected of an RDF officer."

Among the 308 graduates, were 27 women and two officers from each of the East African member states Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Burundi.

Senior government officials, army officers from the EAC partner states and families of the cadets attended the ceremony where advanced military skills were displayed by the graduates.

According to the facilitators of the Cadet course, the rigorous military training required endurance as well mastering the art of war and leadership.

The cadet graduates were then promoted to the rank of Second Lieutenant.

With the participation of EAC member states, Kagame said it was "testimony of the importance; we in the EAC give to the regional integration and specifically cooperation in defense."

"You must remember your role is beyond Rwanda. Your role is to build our continent and protect the dignity of our nation," the President told the cadet officers.

"I have no doubt that you now possess what it takes to fulfil your duties and to serve your countries in a dignified and patriotic manner."

The President also commissioned the Academy's new office blocks.

Brig. Gen. Ferdinand Safari, Commandant of the Military Academy, noted that with the training, the officers are now ready to take on the responsibilities they are assigned.

"I am confident that these young officers have been prepared and trained well and are capable of dealing with today's challenges," he emphasised.

The top five cadet officers were recognised with Sam Rurangwa named the best overall cadet and awarded the Cadet of the Year Medal.

Jacques Rusagara, emerged second, Ronald Ngoboka third, Sam Tukashaba from Uganda the fourth.

American Thomas Richie who took part in the training emerged fifth best after he demonstrated exemplary discipline during the entire course.

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