Rwanda Sets Date for Referendum on Kagame’s Third Term

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Rwanda has set the date for a referendum that will decide President Paul Kagame’s eligibility to run for a third term in office.

The country will vote on December 18 to change its constitution that currently limits presidents to a maximum of two five-year terms. So far the campaign to see Kagame prolong his time in charge of the country has been met with little or no opposition. And, if the referendum votes in favour of the constitutional changes, Kagame could remain in power until 2034.

 

Rwanda’s push for ‘democratic’ change

Supporters of Kagame insist the country’s push to extend his run as president is the will of Rwandan people. They claim 3.7 million people signed a petition demanding the president be allowed to run for a third term and that the December referendum is nothing more than democracy in action.

International views have been different though, with the Obama administration insisting Kagame shouldn’t consider running for a third term. Meanwhile, the Rwanda President is yet to confirm his intentions, however recent dialogue hints of exercising his right to run, should the amendment be passed.

 

A growing trend in East and Central Africa

International concern over the political situation across East and Central Africa has largely stemmed from presidents extending their stay in power. Burundi was plunged into political crisis in April after President Nkurunziza announced his plans to run for a third term, which he then won in June.

Uganda changed its own constitution in 2005 to allow President Museveni to seek re-election in 2006 and 2011 – and he’s expected to run again next year. His third and fourth terms have been marred by numerous riots and accusations of human rights violations.

Meanwhile, protests in Congo have resulted from President Joseph Kabila’s efforts to prolong his time in office, after 15 years of acting as president.

 

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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.