The head of state delivered the message on Friday 4th November 2022 after commissioning 568 officer cadets who graduated from Rwanda Military Academy in Bugesera District.
Kagame said that the officers commissioned to the rank of Second Lieutenant have acquired knowledge and diverse skills throughout 12 months of training.
“We congratulate you for achieving your dreams. I have no doubt that you are prepared enough and have all it takes to fulfill your duties to safeguard national security and citizens’ development,” he said.
The President reminded new officers that their primary job is to maintain security not fighting wars.
"The Rwandan army and other security organs in our country are meant to protect Rwandans, to protect the country and all its citizens, and safeguard the development we have attained, as we move forward. That is what they stand for. That is where we start. We do not start by thinking that the national army as a profession, is just about fighting wars. That comes last," he said.
"Their primary duty is security, securing our development gains. When the latter is threatened by war, that is when fighting comes in, that is why I said that is the last resort. What we and our country stand for and the mindset of our army professionals, is that the starting point is to protect what we have achieved. This is different from building an army that just fights wars that would be wrong," added Kagame.
The head of state highlighted that Rwanda builds the army to protect the nation instead of provoking war. He explained that it is the reason why some recruits undergo science courses before joining RDF.
Since 2015, Rwanda Military Academy (RMA) introduced different university programs to in Social and Military Sciences, Medicine, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering.
In 2022, the academy introduced Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. RMA also plans to introduce more programs in the near future.
President Kagame has said that the officers are equipped with a skill-set of knowledge in diverse disciplines that enables them to fit in other professional roles beyond military service in Rwanda and beyond in collaboration with partner countries.
“They are ready for that and have been adequately trained. However, even fighting any war where necessary, requires knowledge,” he said.
He also urged them to deliver on their duties and uphold discipline.
“It would not make sense for you to spend all this time here training and then after, you end up being dishonourably discharged or punished in any other way because of indiscipline,” he emphasized.
Among the 568 officers commissioned today, 475 were bachelor degree holders trained for one year while 93 graduated after four years of both academic and military training.
The 93 graduates combined military training and university studies in Social and Military Sciences, Medicine, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering.
Of the 475 officers enrolled in one year program, 277 were in-service soldiers while 198 were civilians before joining the military training.
They were joined by 24 graduates who completed military training in partner countries to take the commissioning oath before serving in RDF.
These countries include the United Kingdom, United States of America, Russia, Qatar, Srilanka, Kenya and Italy.