RwandaSpecial Reports

Kagame: I Must be Convinced to Stay in Office

Uganda Cranes beat host Nigeria 1-0 in an international friendly played at the Akwa Ibom Stadium Uyo on Wednesday evening.

An 81st minute rebounded goal from Vipers SC youngster Farouk Miya meant veteran Vincent Enyeama’s 100th cap for Nigeria wasn’t as memorable as he would have wished.

Before today, this web Uganda and Nigeria have met six times with the Cranes winning half of them, for sale losing two and drawing one.

In the same stadium, they drew with South Africa 2-2 when they failed to qualify for the 2015 Nations cup.

The Cranes could have scored as early as the 14th minutes when Geoffrey Massa’s free kick was deflected away for a corner. He later fired in another powerful free kick from a tight angle in the 26th minute but saw his effort fly off target.

This match was aimed at preparing both teams for the qualifying series for the 2017 AFCON in June.
Rwandans have a right to debate whether the Constitutional provision on presidential term limits should be amended or preserved, buy President Paul Kagame has said.

“Debates are healthy in any democratic environment. So what is the issue?” asked the leader whose term of office expires in 2017.

“One school of thought is that the Constitution should not be amended. That it should remain as it is. Another group thinks the Constitution is made by the people and can be changed by the people, web ” he added.


“I belong to the former. Those who want me to stay must, health really, convince me. Those who want me to go, I have no problem with them…I am open to going and not going. I am listening. I need to be convinced to stay. Either side has good arguments,” said Kagame at the press conference in Kigali, Rwanda on Thursday.

The debate on whether President Kagame should serve a third term in office after the expiry of the mandatory two terms in 2017 is raging on in Rwanda, with former the ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) leaders saying the head of state should stay around.

Dr Joseph Karemera, who was among the commanders that spearheaded military operations of the RPF to capture Kigali in 1994, wrote an article in the government-owned The New Times in February, saying President Kagame should be given another term.

He described Kagame as a “rare person whose character from childhood to date, has informed and shaped the current new image of Rwanda,” adding, the President has “turned around a country that was on the brink of becoming a failed state after it turned against its own twenty one years ago.”

He recollected some of the key roles played by Kagame in the liberation struggle such as reorganisation of fighters after the death of Maj Gen Fred Rwigyema, inspiring the nation to preserve its dignity and eventual seizure of power from the genocidaires.

Karemera said while Rwanda has registered remarkable success, there are still looming threats and vulnerabilities before asking: “Is it time for H.E Paul Kagame to leave office come 2017? The answer is no. It is important to remember that Rwanda has had unique problems, including decades of misrule, destruction and division that ended in the Genocide against Tutsi.”

He added: “We cannot afford to mess around with achievements we have made under Kagame’s leadership. If we have to overcome the threats and vulnerabilities and strongly position our country in the current globalized environment, we need the continued visionary leadership of President Kagame.”

Several officials have come out to back this narrative, saying Kagame’s style of leadership is unmatched and his vision to transform Rwanda might be compromised if not allowed to continue serving as president.

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


However, opposition leaders and civil society groups especially in the Diaspora claim Kagame should relinquish power to preserve his legacy as a liberation war hero and democrat who turned around the country from ashes to a sparkling African success story.

Human rights groups accuse President Kagame of using an iron hand to suppress dissent especially by jailing opponents, a charge Kigali vehemently denies.

Critics further blame the Rwandan leader for repressing freedoms of speech and assembly thus inhibiting the growth of democracy in the East African country.

Last year, The Political Bureau of the opposition Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, said it was opposed to the “proposed request regarding the lifting of the presidential term limits from the constitution of the Republic of Rwanda.”

Kagame today emphasised that, “For me to be convinced to stay, I need to hear more arguments from the people who think democracy is based on term limits.”

He said those who keep pressing him for his thoughts on whether he would stand again for presidency, should give him peace of mind.

“I want to do my job between now and 2017. Please stop tossing me up and down. Let me have my peace… then after 2017, we will see,” he said.

Kagame, who appeared jolly during the press conference, expressed shock at some individuals who intend to block debate on the constitution amendment.

“Rwandans have a right to think like anyone else,” he noted.

Article 101

ChimpReports understands Parliament must make amendments to the Constitution for Kagame, who has been president since 2000, to contest again.

Article 101 of the Rwanda Constitution states that; “The President of the Republic is elected for a term of seven years renewable only once”.

It further reads: “Under no circumstances shall a person hold the office of President of Republic for more than two terms”.

Paragraph 1 of article 193, provides that power to initiate amendment of the Constitution shall be vested concurrently in the President of the Republic upon the proposal of the Cabinet and each Chamber of Parliament upon a resolution passed by a two thirds (2/3) majority vote of its members.

However, paragraph 3 of article 193 provides that, the constitutional amendment concerning the term of the President of the Republic, must be passed by referendum, after adoption by each Chamber of Parliament.

The last paragraph provides that no amendment to this Article (193) shall be permitted, meaning it is only done through referendum.

Kagame, who served as a soldier in President Museveni’s NRA guerrilla outfit which took power from Milton Obote and the military Junta in 1986 before leading the RPF to topple the Rwanda genocidal regime in 1994, today said he is ready to quit the highest political seat in the land.

“When my time comes I will go. Term limits, change or not change should not be about me… Rwandans are not just like grass which you just burn. We are a proud people. Let us manage our business.”

He said the debate on third term should be trivialised which he said undermines a people’s culture, pride and wellbeing.

Kagame also shared his thoughts on the political tensions in Burundi ahead of this year’s election, insisting the country has capacity to deal with its own challenges.

He did not rule out supporting Burundi if required.

Kagame said in a recent interview that a conflict in neighbouring Burundi would allow Hutu FDLR militia in DRC to threaten Rwanda’s security.

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