Will Kagame Seek 3rd Term in Office?

visit geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>Speaking to students at Tufts University, Kagame explained that people started asking him when he would stand down immediately after he was elected President of Rwanda.

“It was never my ambition to become President. I spent nine and half years of my life in the battlefield. Every single day of those nine and a half years, I was never sure if I would see the next day or the end of the war,” said Kagame.

The comments have since sparked off a huge public debate, with many arguing that President Kagame intends to keep around.

Critics say Kagame should emulate the likes of President Nelson Mandela by quitting office after the expiry of his last term.

Revi Mfizi, a member of Rwanda’s opposition, says “If Rwandans had real choices; President Kagame will be out office the next day.”

He adds: “All Rwandans respect the law, Kagame is no exception. He should respect the Rwandan constitution.”

However, Kagame’s decision is likely to be determined by the RPF party.

Last year, party members urged Kagame to stand for President again in 2017.

During several Citizen Outreach tours, some people have asked President Kagame to stand for president again.

Kagame’s supporters say he should remain President to enable the country achieve its targets especially turning Rwanda into a middle income country by 2020.

One needs to alter the Constitution for Kagame, who has been president since 2000, to contest again.

Kagame’s thoughts

Briefing journalists in Rwanda in February last year, Kagame made it clear he was not interested in a third term.

“I don’t want a third term in office. I want to carry out my responsibilities to my level best,” said Kagame.

“I said what I said with outmost clarity. I am not responsible for other versions. This debate was started by the media; we are only putting issues into context.”

He further stated: “Our history is complicated, so is everything that we have to deal with. The debate is about change, which is clearly outlined in the constitution. But now I have now joined the debate. I asked my party officials to put this matter into perspective asking people concerned ‘where are you going?”

Kagame elaborated that the responsibility of the President is to be bothered about what affects his people.

“I don’t want to say much to add in more confusion to an already confused situation. People don’t know how I am dying to get out of this place [State House]. I am not the person who needs a third term. I can continue serving my country in different roles. I don’t do this job to be paid or to please anyone. I am thinking about the future of this country not the third term.”

He said what is expected come 2017 is change, “that is what is in the Constitution, talking about continuity of progress…we need stability.”

However, towards the end of the press conference, Kagame said the Rwandan Constitution can be amended like others in different countries.

“Most people who ask and speculate forget the right of people who put the Constitution in place… Can you tell me which Constitution in the whole world that hasn’t been amended?” asked Kagame.

“Why forget the role of the people? This Constitution was put in place by the people and sometime back one person would write the Constitution,” the President elaborated. He maintained Rwanda’s situation is unique which defines how the country deals with its affairs.


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