Rwanda Supreme Court Dismisses Case Against Kagame’s Third Term

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Rwanda’s Supreme Court has dismissed a case against Paul Kagame’s third term as President, deeming the challenge as groundless.

The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda took its case to the Supreme Court in an attempt to prevent the acting president from extending his tenure in office beyond two terms. The constitution says any given president can only run for a maximum of two terms, however the Supreme Court has backed constitutional changes that will allow Kagame to extend his stay in power.

 

Domestic support for President Kagame

The Green Party has been the only political group to challenge Kagame’s plans to amend Article 101, which limits presidents to a maximum of two terms in power.

It’s claimed Kagame has overwhelming support from the Rwandan people, with more than 60 percent of voters alleged to have signed a petition, calling for the necessary constitutional changes to allow Kagame’s run for a third term.

The move has been rubber stamped by the houses of parliament, while a seven member commission has been set up to review the proposed amendments – although their findings are yet to be released.

 

International concern

There is concern from overseas, however, over the trustworthiness of statistics supporting Kagame’s extension of power. The United States has already opposed the proposed constitutional changes and critics claim Kagame has silenced the opposition and media.

Extending terms has become a trend of sorts on the African continent, with the latest example in Burundi turning into violent bloodshed. Ex-Senegal President Abdoulaye Wade also backtracked on his own policy for shorter terms in 2012, but lost the following election to Macky Sall.

Rwanda’s Supreme Court has justified its decision as pro-democracy though – claiming the constitution should be amendable and the public voice heard.

“Denying the free will of the people to choose how they are governed is not democratic, rather it is the opposite,” said Judge Rugege on his ruling.

 

Paul Kagame, 2009 World Economic Forum on Africa” by Copyright World Economic Forum www.weforum.org / Matthew Jordaan mattjordaanphoto@gmail.com – Africa as the World’s potential Breadbasket – World Economic Forum on Africa 2009. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.