Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) has come out to explain the recent dismissals from the military, pointing out that they are linked to gross misconduct which goes against the values of the national army, dismissing speculation about an ongoing purge within the armed forces.
Speaking to the media on Wednesday, the Defence and Military Spokesperson, Brig. Gen Ronald Rwivanga, together with Col Lambert Sendegeya, Chief J1, in charge of RDF Personnel, explained that the dismissal of 116 officers, including two Generals, and recession of contracts of 112 others, was a result of gross misconduct.
“We want to set the record straight on the announcement we shared with you recently, about 116 officers and men dismissed from the army and another 120 whose contracts were terminated. Dismissal means that anyone who acts in a manner that contravenes the RDF code of conduct can be dismissed from service,”
“An example is drunkenness, drug abuse or any other form of misconduct that disgraces the RDF uniform or does not befit an RDF officer. Regarding the two Generals, Maj Gen Aloys Muganga was dismissed due to excessive drunkenness while Brig. Gen. Francis Mutiganda was dismissed because of gross insubordination. Those are the two reasons that led to their dismissal from RDF,” Brig. Gen Rwivanga explained.
He pointed out that the RDF routinely assesses the behaviour and conduct of its officers and men and those found not meeting the required standards are dismissed or released from service.
Brig. Gen. Rwivanga also added that the changes in the RDF top command were also routine and not connected to the dismissals as many had speculated, pointing out that the two developments were simply a coincidence and not linked to each other in one way or another.
“The two activities coincided but they are not connected at all. The dismissals happened two days after the changes and some people were trying to relate the two, but they are completely different. We even had other promotions in rank which were related to the changes, but they are not connected to the dismissals and recession of contracts,”
“They just happened to coincide within the same period,” Brig. Gen. Rwivanga explained.”
Gross misconduct and insubordination
Col. Sendegeya explained that members of the RDF are expected to conduct themselves in a certain way, as stipulated in Presidential order no Nº 044/01of 14/02/2020 (as revised) establishing special statute governing Rwanda Defence Force, and also puts in place the code of conduct.
“This presidential order determines how someone can professionally join the military as and the manner in which they can be discharged or dismissed. To join the army, there are some requirements you have to meet, but among them is discipline,”
“There are different grounds on which one can be discharged or dismissed from the army. An assessment is done to determine if that person qualifies to remain in service or not. However, one of the most crucial reasons for dismissal are gross misconduct and gross insubordination,” Col. Sendegeya said.
He added that other reasons can include corruption, bribery, ethnic ideology and other forms behaviour that do not suit a member of the RDF.
It was also revealed that some of the dismissed soldiers will face charges in the courts of law and other military disciplinary actions.