Rwanda and Cameroon announced major changes in their military forces on August 30, 2023 affecting high-ranking military personnel.
This happened on the eve of a coup in Gabon, where the military dethroned Ali Bongo, four days after being declared the winner of the presidential election.
In Rwanda, President Paul Kagame retired hundreds of soldiers in a move that followed the promotions of a number of young soldiers.
A statement by the Rwanda Defense Force (RDF) showed Kagame had “approved the retirement of a dozen generals, 83 senior officers and six junior officers.”
Kagame also authorized the retirement of 86 senior non-commissioned officers.
At least 678 soldiers were retired after their contracts ended while 160 others were discharged on medical grounds.
The statement indicated that many members of the old guard who fought in Rwanda’s liberation war in 1994 such as Gen. James Kabarebe, Gen. Fred Ibingira and Lt. Gen. Charles Kayonga were among the retirees.
Both Kabarebe and Kayonga previously served as chief of defense staff of the Rwandan army during separate periods.
Earlier on Wednesday, Kagame also promoted a number of young officers to the rank of colonel and appointed new generals to head military divisions.
In Cameroon, President Paul Biya, one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, also made new appointments at the Defense Ministry’s central administrative unit, according to a decree made public on social media.
The decision, which comes after the recent military coup in Gabon, affected high-ranking military personnel.
The 90-year-old shared the decree via his verified social media pages.
The document, sighted by Legit.ng – a Nigerian online publication, was titled: “Decree appointing officials to the Ministry of Defence”