Rwanda: Gen. James Kabarebe appointed new Minister of Defence
Kigali: Defense Minister Gen. Marcel Gatsinzi – with long-standing Genocide accusations still haunting him for years, has lost his job – in major changes in the Army announced Saturday evening by President Paul Kagame.
The army’s internal and external intelligence systems were affected as well.
The new minister is Gen. James Kabarebe – who has been the Chief of Defense Staff. Gen. Kabarebe is the fastest rising star in army ranks – up from President Kagame’s aide-de-camp in the rebel army, to the country’s Army chief in 2002.
The new army changes also see men that had become synonymous with the face of the country’s intelligence system removed from their jobs or moved to less sensitive areas, or thrown out with no new appointments. No reasons where given for the changes, made as the Rwanda continues with the Tutsi Genocide commemoration week.
In other changes, Lt. Gen. Charles Kayonga – who local media reports had claimed is under house arrest over a coup plot attempt, has been promoted to Chief of Defense Staff. He has been deputizing Gen. Kabarebe, and in charge of Land Forces.
The promotion of Lt. Gen. Kayonga clearly undermines widespread rumours that he was in serious trouble over allegations of planning to oust the commander-in-chief. President Kagame dismissed the rumours in his press conference last week, but did give any details.
The former long-serving boss of the Rwanda football league (FERWAFA), Maj. Gen. Ceaser Kayizari will take charge of the Land Forces. He has been the 3rd Division Commander based in Western Province.
Lt. Gen. Charles Muhire is now the Reserve Force Commander – a new arm of the army which has been in the works for sometime. The largely reclusive Lt. Gen Muhire has been heading the Airforce – where he has worked for several years.
The Airforce will now be headed by little-known Colonel Joseph Demari, who was actually promoted from the rank of Major before being given the top job. He will be the Acting Airforce Chief of Staff.
Brig. Gen. Jack Musemakweli has been moved from the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI or J2) to the Army’s political affairs department (J5). He was replaced by Lt. Col. Dan Munyuza – who was also promoted to Colonel.
Major Gatete Karuranga – promoted to Colonel, is the new Director General of External Intelligence. He was the Commanding Officer of Maintenance Battalion. Col. Karuhanga now replaces long-reining Colonel Rwakabi Kacyira, who is also husband to Kigali city Mayor Dr. Aissa Kirabo.
[adapted from ARI-RNA]