Rwanda to establish dedicated military university

By Esther Muhozi
On 15 May 2024 at 01:21

The Ministry of Defence has announced a project to establish a military university in Rwanda , which will include a National Defence College uniquely designed to accommodate and educate senior officers from the rank of Colonel to General.

The construction of this school was highlighted by the Minister of Defense, Juvenal Marizamunda, on Tuesday, May 14, during his presentation to the Senate.

He was part of the proceedings to confirm the basis of a bill governing the Rwanda Defence Force, aiming to establish components such as the Health Unit, a Deputy Chief of Staff, and a Department responsible for International Military Relations.

After the Senate General Assembly approved the foundation of the bill, the Senators from the Foreign Affairs, Cooperation, and Security Committee began examining the bill governing the Rwandan Defence Forces.

Minister Marizamunda noted that there are various projects concerning the Rwandan Defence Force, including the construction of a higher education military school.

He stated, "Regarding the university, we currently have many military schools, but the ones at the university level are the Gako Military Academy and the Nyakinama school. Gako offers training for those who want to become junior officers, while Nyakinama provides training for senior officers, such as Majors, Lieutenant Colonels, and Colonels when necessary."

He continued, "We are going to establish another level called the ’National Defence College’ which will enroll individuals from the rank of Colonel up to General."

Currently, these military schools offer university-level courses in collaboration with the University of Rwanda, something Minister Marizamunda said will change in the future as all will be integrated into the National Defence University.

He elaborated, "The degrees currently issued by the University of Rwanda will soon change to those issued by the ’National Defence University’ which will encompass these three schools and other institutes including a research center and a peacekeeping studies center, all within this military university."

He further explained that this university will first need to be approved by the relevant government authorities as is the case with other universities operating in the country.

He added, "It’s an ongoing process, and it won’t delay. Once we establish the school, the next step will be to seek accreditation for this military university, so that the degrees will no longer be issued by the University of Rwanda."

Earlier in May, the Chamber of Deputies approved a law governing the Rwandan Defence Force, which included reforms in their structure and management.

The reforms outlined in the law include the introduction of Deputy Chiefs, where the RDF Chief of Staff will have a Deputy, and the Chiefs of Land Forces and the Health Branch will also have deputies.

This law comprises 38 articles that reinforce the changes within the Rwandan Defence Forces.

When the bill was presented to the Deputies’ General Assembly on March 14, 2024, Minister Marizamunda explained that these reforms aim to improve RDF’s governance to effectively fulfill its duty of safeguarding national security.

Overall, the Rwandan Defence Force were led by a Chief of Staff, with a single commander for the land forces, air forces, and the reserve forces.

Minister Marizamunda told the deputies that the need for additional military leaders is based on the increasing responsibilities of the RDF due to various international activities the Rwandan Military is involved in, and the reforms were made in response to the current global and regional security dynamics.

Minister of Defense, Juvenal Marizamunda, has indicated that there are various projects concerning the Rwanda Defence Force, including the construction of an advanced school that will also train senior military officers.