Nyakinama, 16 May 2016
Honourable Minister of Defence, Gen James Kabarebe opened on 16 May 2016 the Fourth National Security Symposium at RDF Command and Staff College in Nyakinama, Musanze District. The opened Symposium is an annual event organized by the College for the benefit of students attending the Senior Command and Staff Course. This year’s National Security Symposium theme was “Contemporary Security Challenges: The African Perspective”, and was held from 16 to 18 May 2016.
The primary aim of the Symposium was to deliberate on matters of national, regional, continental, and global security. It was also an opportunity for students to interact with high level policy makers, security practitioners, subject matter experts and scholars of security studies in interactive discussions on security challenges on the African continent with a view to developing practical solutions.
The symposium discussed among others, the contemporary approaches in the fight against terrorism on the African continent, the operationalisation of African Standby Force, combating cross border negative forces through interagency cooperation, role of the media in conflict resolution, cyber threats on the African continent, external interference in continental matters and gender related issues. The Symposium was jointly organised and conducted by the RDFCSC and the University of Rwanda (UR).
Gen Kabarebe (Minister of Defence)
Presiding over the official opening ceremony of the Symposium, Gen Kabarebe recalled some security threats our region is facing. "The FDLR genocidal force and other negative forces operating in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo are not only a threat to Rwanda, but also to the region as a whole. Likewise the prevailing insecurity in Burundi does not affect Burundians alone, but the region as a whole”, Gen Kabarebe underscored. “Intrastate conflicts in Burundi, Somalia, Central Africa Republic require appropriate response mechanisms from within Africa”, the Minister continued. He further advised Senior Command and Staff Course students to use the Symposium as an opportunity to acquire more skills that will enable them to perform their future duties, with clarity and understanding of the geopolitical nature of contemporary security challenges on the continent and beyond.
Maj Gen JB KAZURA (RDFCSC Commandant)
The importance of the Symposium on Security matters for Students was also underlined by the Commandant of the RDF Command and Staff College, Maj Gen JB Kazura. The Commandant recalled in this respect that the discussions to be conducted “will significantly contribute to help the College to graduate officers equipped with the right skills and capacities to understand their role in efficient and effective manner while fulfilling their future missions”.
Some of the most important topics discussed, just to mention a few, include:
"African Union Response Mechanisms to Conflicts in Africa: the Regional Standby Forces in Perspective". The panelists were the Former EAC Secretary General, Dr Richard Sezibera, Gen Patrick Nyamvumba, the RDF Chief of Defence Staff and Gen I Maulana, the Chief of Malawi Defence Force.
Gen Patrick NYAMVUMBA (RDF CDS)
“Contemporary Approaches in the fight against Terrorism in Africa”. The panel for this session was composed of Maj Gen Robert Kibochi, Assistant CDF in charge of Operations, Plans, Doctrine and Training, Kenya Defence Forces; Brig Gen Innocent Kabandana, RDF Special Operation Force Commander and Dr VladmirAntwi-Danso, Director Academic Studies Ghana Armed Forces.
Lt Col G NYIRIMANZI (Student)
"External interference in African Affairs; A Threat to Africa’s Sovereignty: Challenges and Mitigation Strategies". Panelists included Honorable Minister of Defence, Gen James Kabarebe, the Minister of Justice, Hon Johnston Busingye as well as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, RWAMUGANZA Caleb.
During the closing ceremony, the Minister of Defence, Gen Kabarebe, thanked all participants to the Symposium for giving their best during the three day intense discussions. “The discussions were vibrant and excellent, the organization was so good and enriching, participants have learnt a lot”, he said.
This was also echoed by the RDF CSC Commandant, Maj Gen JB Kazura who reaffirmed that the objectives of the symposium were achieved beyond expectations. “We have achieved our objectives more than we expected. The discussions were very educative, and this will help students officers at RDF Command and Staff College to perform future duties both at home and beyond with added confidence and knowledge", Maj Gen JB Kazura said.