US Urges Rwanda’s Kagame to Step Down After Second Term


Rwanda President Paul Kagame has been urged to step down at the end of his second term in power by the US ambassador to the United Nations.

Ms Samantha Power says the Rwandan leader must set an example for his country and the wider East African region, following a trend of president’s extending their stay in power. Burundi has been the most high-profile case, where Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a third term plunged the country into a national security crisis.


An example for the region

“President Kagame has an opportunity to set an example for a region in which leaders seem too tempted to view themselves as indispensable to their own countries’ trajectories,” Ms Power told a news conference earlier this week.

The US ambassador also looked at Tanzania, which recently conducted the most closely fought election in its democratic history. The country’s former president, Akaya Kikwete, has already set such an example for the region, according to Ms Power, by “giving up power peacefully.”

And the ambassador was firm about her organisations expectations on Rwanda: “We expect President Kagame to step down at the end of his term in 2017,” she said.


Kagame edging closer to a third term

Kagame could have other ideas in mind, however, as he edges closer to securing his right to run for a third term in power. Rwanda’s senate passed a constitutional change last month that paves the way for Kagame to run once again, potentially extending his stay in power for another two decades.

The president still hasn’t confirmed whether he intends to run for election a third time, but his aides insist any campaign would be in response to “popular demand” and the best interests of the people.


Featured image:

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

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.