Rwanda votes yes on constitutional referendum
Rwandans have voted â€œYesâ€ on a constitutional referendum meant to approve the revised Constitution with preliminary results showing that 98.1 per cent voted â€œYegoâ€ (Yes) from yesterdayâ€™s referendum.
According to Mbanda Kalisa, the NEC chairperson more than 98 percent from 21 out of 30 districts, representing 70 percent of registered voters, voted to lift term limits for Kagame, Kagameâ€™s supporters celebrated the announcement in the capital, Kigali.
â€œWe have seen the will of the people. Itâ€™s clear that what the people want they can achieve. They called for the change of the Constitution and they have made it,â€ said Prof. Kalisa Mbanda, the NEC chairperson, while announcing the preliminary results.
So far, most of the tallied districts voted in favour at about 98 per cent, with the urban districts in Kigali City returning the lowest â€œYegoâ€ votes even though they still surpassed 90 per cent.
Some 6.4 million Rwandans were registered to vote in the poll.
The revised constitution cuts presidential term limits from seven to five years renewable only once.
Also other changes will be preceded by a transitional presidential term of seven years for which any presidential candidates, including President Kagame, will be eligible.
A few other changes were also made in the Constitution, including the revision of Senatorsâ€™ and President and vice President of the Supreme Court terms of office from eight years non-renewable to five years renewable once, except for senators who are former Heads of State as they are not subject to term limits.
Kagame voted at Rugunga polling station in the capital, Kigali, accompanied by his wife and daughter.
Shortly after voting, the president spoke to the media.
The media asked for Kagameâ€™s views on the exercise and what he hoped for. â€ You go and ask Rwandans why they are doing thisâ€, he said and added that,â€ What is happening is peopleâ€™s choiceâ€
â€œWhat is happening is peopleâ€™s choice. Ask people why they want it,â€ he said maintaining that itâ€™s the wish of the Rwandan people that he extends his term. He said he would announce his candidature â€œany time.â€
Ninety-two per cent of Rwandans want President Paul Kagame for third term, according to a survey conducted by Ipsos, a global research firm that was released this week.