Kigali – Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame has said he would decide whether to seek a third term in office, after a referendum on a constitutional change to seek re-election.
“I am still listening; whatever you want from me will be based on the decision of the referendum.
‘‘And thus my answer will come after the referendum,” Kagame told senior officials of the Rwanda Patriotic Front.
He, however, did not give a date for the ballot in his comments that were aired in a nationwide broadcast.
Kagame’s announcement came barely a week after the U.S., a major donor to that country advised him against seeking re-election in 2017.
Reacting to the development, Sen.Tito Rutaremara, a member of the ruling party, told newsmen that the cabinet was expected to give a timeline this week.
“We would wish it to take place on Dec. 18, but you know demanding is different from getting,” he said.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”70560″]
Under the proposed constitutional changes, Kagame would be allowed to run in 2017 for another seven-year term, plus two more five-year terms after that, potentially allowing him to stay in power till 2034.
Rwanda’s main but tiny opposition, the Democratic Green Party, tried to block the amendment to extend Kagame’s term, but a court rejected the bid.
Although the president has been praised for rebuilding Rwanda’s economy and delivering social change, rights’ groups say the government stifles critical voices in the media and in politics- an allegation which the government denied.
It would be recalled that the rebel force led by Kagame brought an end to three months of slaughter in 1994, when some 800,000 people were killed, most of them members of the Tutsi minority and moderates among the Hutu majority (Reuters/NAN)