President Paul Kagame has wished men and women in uniform of a Merry Christmas and a successful New Year. He thanked them for their distinctive service to the nation and calling for their recommitment in the New Year.
"As we conclude the year 2017, we have a timely opportunity for introspection as well as forward thinking on the core purpose, context and significance of your service to our Nation, as men and women in uniform under the flag of Rwanda. Throughout the year, at home and abroad, you have continued to serve with relentless commitment, and distinction to protect Rwanda and its people," Kagame said.
The Head of State, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, said that at home, citizens and residents have continued to enjoy the peace, safety and stability over the concluding year 2017, which enabled the continued socio-economic progress of the country despite challenging circumstances at the regional and global levels.
Beyond the country's borders, the President said, both the military and police kept presence in various theatres where they participated in peace operations and served with their normal dedication and professionalism, saving lives and contributing to peace and stability where they lack the most.
"This is why many of you are not able to be with your loved ones during this festive season. Your noble sacrifice does not go unnoticed," Kagame told men and women in uniform.
He added that they have been powerful Ambassadors of Rwanda, consistently representing the best principles and values Rwandans stand for as they shared them with those abroad.
"It is therefore fitting that we take the time to reflect on these efforts and achievements not only to give them the recognition they deserve, but also to find ways to further improve on them, for the benefit of our Nation," he said.
President Kagame urged the rest of citizens to never take the fruits of their services to the nation for granted much as they enjoy them and always expect the best because the army's services are the results of collective efforts and personal sacrifices of great significance to all Rwandans.
As for the New Year 2018, the Head of State urged the armed forces to remain focused and vigilant, saying that they can't expect the year to be less challenging and instead warned them that global and regional dynamics will always tend to evolve in ways that bring new security challenges, some of which need to be confronted at very short notice.
"While we cannot always predict the future, the people of Rwanda can be assured of one fact; the same values and convictions that have enabled us overcome countless challenges, strengthened by the experience, skills, knowledge and assets we have continued to acquire over time, will ensure that we overcome any threats we may be confronted with, and that our Nation always emerges safer and stronger," he said.
He reminded men and women in uniform that the beginning of a new year is also an opportunity to renew their pledge to the nation.
"In your thoughts and prayers, make sure you take the time to recommit yourselves, individually and collectively, to continuously build on past achievements, aiming for the highest possible standards in the performance of your service to the peoples of Rwanda," he told them.
If the above is kept in mind, the president said, the entire armed forces will continue to deserve the nation's trust and respect that it has earned over the years.
Both RDF and police maintain presence in different UN peacekeeping missions abroad and have been credited by different entities, including the United Nations for exceptional service.