He conveyed the message on Sunday 12th February 2023 as he interacted with Rwandan diaspora in Europe during an event to celebrate National Heroes Day.
The virtual talks brought together Rwandans from across Europe and diplomats representing Rwanda to European countries.
The Minister of Youth and Culture, Rosemary Mbabazi; Rwanda’s Ambassador to the Netherlands, Olivier Nduhungirehe and Rwanda’s Ambassador to Germany, Igor Cesar; were among other guests who delivered talks.
Lt Gen Kabandana said that the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi was possible because of bad leadership that promoted ethnic divisionism, spread hatred and excluded a segment of Rwandans.
“All those aspects came into play along with refuge and other problems that led Rwanda to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. After the Genocide, the country was reduced to ashes. So, we needed far-sighted heroes, committed to reshape Rwanda beyond and spearhead the resilience journey of the nation and its people,” he said.
Lt Gen Kabandana has however disclosed that there are individuals who harbored intentions to hold back the country after RPA soldiers stopped the Genocide.
“A large number of security threat architects wanted to threaten the country and had strength. The majority of them was in Congo. We went through such situation for long,” he noted.
“From 1995 to 2001, there were several wars. The infiltration attacks were tough, the struggle to bring back over 3 million Rwandans taken hostage in Congo […] All these activities required heroism and dedication,” added Lt Gen Kabandana.
At the time, Lt Gen Kabandana highlighted, the majority of the country’s enemies wanted to commit genocide again over various reasons.
“It was necessary to thwart them lest they hold back the country’s progress. The third enemy and still exists today is genocide ideology. The enemy always reproduces, and brings into existence those who are still stuck in the dark history,” he said.
“Building the nation and consolidating gains requires bravery and everyone’s contribution. Today’s war does not require fighters with bows and guns […]”
Warning to security threat architects
Lt Gen Kabandana urged Rwandans to strengthen their unity because its absence affects the entire country as it happened in the past leading to refuge, ethnic divisionism and the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
He explained that Rwanda’s developments after Genocide against the Tutsi are fruits of heroes’ dedication.
“The country cannot exist without heroism because there are many reasons why other countries or enemies want another to be destroyed. There are individuals who still think that our country can experience aforementioned problems again,” noted Lt Gen Kabandana.
“So, it requires resolute bravery and dedication for the country to restore its reputation and trust among its people which send a lesson to dissidents that it is impossible to destabilize the country,” he added.
Lt Gen Kabandana further revealed that there are individuals harboring intentions to attack the country but have failed because the country is safeguarded.
“There have been attempts. There are still people wishing to do it but did not stop willfully. They are unable to make it happen. There are soldiers, other security organs and citizens who must embrace heroism to protect territorial integrity […] It is the foundation for everything we do because the country would be in danger without safeguarding its integrity,” he said.
“I want to assure you that Rwandan soldiers are capable, they are dedicated enough, we have heroes of all categories among them. These values do not only characterize them here but also in other places where they are needed for intervention,” disclosed Lt Gen Kabandana.
He pointed out countries including Mozambique, South Sudan and others where Rwandan troops continue to exhibit excellence in their mission to restore peace going hand in hand with values of promoting unity and heroism.
Lt Gen Kabandana joined Rwandan army in 1990 and was among soldiers who fought the Liberation Struggle.
He once served as Defence Attaché to the Embassy of Rwanda and held different positions as a Brigade staff officer in charge of Civil Military Affairs, Chief Instructor at Rwanda Military Academy in Gako, and Deputy Chief Military Personnel Officer in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan -UNMISS Sudan.
Among others, Lt Gen Kabandana was once the Chairman of the Military Tender Board: Chief of Logistics, RDF HQ; Commandant of Rwanda Military Academy and Director of Rwanda Peace Academy.
He was promoted from the rank of Major General to Lieutenant General towards the end of last year after completing his tour of duty as the Joint Task Force Commander of Rwandan Security Forces deployed to fight terrorists in Mozambique.
Minister Mbabazi also commended Rwanda’s heroes for their contribution to make Rwanda an internationally recognized country which is currently contributing to different peacekeeping missions.
She requested participants of the discussions, particularly the youth, to take responsibility and leading step to desist those who misinterpret history.