Rwanda Supreme Court Rules to Amend Constitution

Rwanda’s Supreme Court has given a green light to the amending of the Constitution in regard to lifting term limits, mind cost Chimp Corps report.

The court presided over by the Chief Justice, visit Prof Sam Rugege, ruled in favour of changing the constitution in the case submitted by the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda (DGPR) against the Government of Rwanda.

According to Article 98 of the Rwandan Constitution, the President of the Republic is the Guardian of the Constitution and guarantor of national unity.

Justice Rugege said all constitutional clauses apart from Article 193 which provides for the process through which the Constitution can be amended can be amended.

DGPR had presented details on why it believes that the term limits of the President of the Republic should not be changed or removed from the constitution.

The party argued that Article 101 of the Constitution makes it clear that under no circumstances shall a person hold the office of the President for more than two terms.

The term of office is seven years renewable once.

The Party further requested the Supreme Court to stop the process regarding the change of the constitution; especially the presidential term limits and order the Constitutional Review Commission to not make any amendments or changes on Article 101 and Article 193 of the Constitution.


The political party also sought instructions that all concerned authorities must not go ahead with preparations of a possible referendum that would remove term limits from the Constitution.

All grounds were found baseless by the Supreme Court.

Rugege disagreed with the petitioners, saying the change the Constitution “was not undemocratic or unusual, provided it respected the law.”

DGPR President Frank Habineza said they would “appeal to the President of the Republic to ensure the non-lifting of Presidential Term limits in the constitution.”

He further said the party intends to “conduct a No Change campaign nationwide, sensitising Rwandans not to vote for the change of the constitution, in case of a national referendum.”

The Party will also explore other legal procedures like filing a case in the African Court on Human and Peoples Rights as well as the East African Court of Justice.

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

RPF stands with Kagame

Dr Joseph Karemera, who was among the commanders that spearheaded military operations of the RPF to capture Kigali in 1994, wrote an article 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.”

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.

Kagame speaks out

President Paul Kagame recently said he was open to standing for another term and not standing.

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

“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 also 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.

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