Gen (Rtd) Marcel Gatsinzi laid to rest

On 17 March 2023 at 07:01

General (Rtd) Marcel Gatsinzi who once served as the Minister of Defence was, on Thursday 16th March 2023, laid to rest at Kanombe Military Cemetery.

The casket carrying his body was taken to the cemetery after a requiem mass celebrated at Regina Pacis Parish in Remera.

It was attended by his family, friends, senior RDF Military Officers and Generals among others.

The condolence message from President Paul Kagame and Commander in Chief (C-in-C) of RDF to the family of the late Gen Marcel Gatsinzi was read in Kinyarwanda by Minister of Defence, Maj Gen Albert Murasira. He said that it was an extremely sad moment for the family, RDF and the country.

He commended late Gen Gatsinzi for his commendable service and exemplary achievements while serving the country in different capacities.

Children of late Gen Gatsinzi attested that their father always encouraged them to be fond of the nation.

“He continued to encourage us to work for the country and contribute to its development. I voice my sincere appreciation to top military officers present here and President of the Republic. Despite the passing of our father, we are aware that we are in a large family. We shall follow his footsteps and assure that we won’t disappoint you,” said Daniel Gatsinzi.

“If he was able to stay with us at this moment, he would say ‘thank you and I love you’. We also thank you and love you from the bottom of our hearts,” added the son of late Gen Gatsinzi.

Gen (Rtd) Marcel Gatsinzi breathed the last on Monday 6th March 2023. He succumbed to natural at a hospital in Belgium where he was receiving treatment.

Gen Marcel Gatsinzi served in various leadership roles for the army and the country including serving as Rwanda’s Minister of Defence from 2002 to 2010, and as the Minister of Disaster Preparedness and Refugee Affairs from 2010 to 2013.

Gen Marcel Gatsinzi was born in Muhima, Nyarugenge District in 1948.

He attended Primary School at Sainte Famille and pursued secondary education at Saint André where he studied Latin and Science courses.

He later joined the military at the age of 20.

Gatsinzi spent two years undergoing military training at “Ecole Supérieure d’Officiers Militaires (ESM)” where he graduated with the rank of Lieutenant in 1970.

He served as an instructor, and attended different professional training in Belgium between 1971 and 1976 at “Institut Royale Supérieure de Défense”.

During the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, Gtsinzi was at the rank of Colonel and was the commander of Non-Commissioned Officers School in Ngoma Commune, current Huye District.

Following the shooting down of former President Juvénal Habyarimana’s airplane on 6th April 1994, Gen Gatsinzi was named Defence Chief Staff replacing Gen Maj Augustin Nsabimana who died with Habyarimana.

He assumed the duties for ten days before dismissal by the then interim government and was replaced by Col Augustin Bizimungu.

By the time RPA soldiers captured Kigali, Gatsinzi had the rank of Brigadier General and was living in Kigeme camp along with other soldiers.

He left the camp for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) through Rusizi.

Gatsinzi stayed in DRC for one month before returning to Rwanda where he joined RDF. Upon joining the army, he was given the rank of Colonel.

Gatsinzi served as the Deputy Army Chief of Staff, Commander of Military Police and Headed the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS).

He held the rank of Major General at the time.

In 2004, Gatsinzi was promoted to General and became the first soldier to rise to to the rank.

He served as the Minister of Defence between 2022 and 2010.

In October 2013, Gen Gatsinzi was sent to retirement along with five other generals.