Kagame to run for third term in office
President Paul Kagame has accepted to run for a third term in office in 2017, one week after Rwandans voted in a referendum to change the constitution to allow him to run.
The announcement in his televised end-of-year message on Friday follows last month’s constitutional referendum in which 98.3 percent of Rwandans voted to approve the country’s revised Constitution.
“Given the importance and consideration you attach to this, I can only accept.” But, he added, “I don’t think that what we need is an eternal leader.”
Kagame explained that, â€œThe unity of our people is unshakably strong and the work of nation-building continues apace.â€
Rwandans, he explained, asked for a revised Constitution, through 3.7 million petitions and a subsequent approval of the recent voted referendum by 98%.
â€œYou clearly expressed your choices for the future of our country. The process allowed us the time to make certain, that the proposed changes had merit and wisdom,â€ Kagame announced in a three minutes address.
The Rwandan leader’s term ends in 2017.Â The new changes allow Kagame, 58, to run for another seven-year term followed by two five-year terms.
Outlining the achievements registered under his leadership, Kagame calmly proceeded with a long awaited announcement.
FULL NEW YEAR ADDRESS
Friends of Rwanda
I would like to convey to you my best wishes for a happy New Year. May 2016 bring your aspirations closer, including for our nationâ€™s progress.
The year that has just ended was eventful and positive for our country. The unity of our people is unshakably strong, and the work of nation-building continues apace.
Against this background, in order to fortify the gains we have made, Rwandans asked for a revised Constitution, which they approved in the recent referendum.
You clearly expressed your choices for the future of our country.
The process allowed us the time to make certain that the proposed changes had merit and wisdom.
You requested me to lead the country again after 2017.
â€ Given the importance and consideration you attach to this, I can only acceptâ€
What remains is to follow the normal laws and procedures when the time comes. But I do not think our aim is to have a President for life, nor is it what I would want.
Sooner rather than later, this office will be transferred from one person to another in a manner that will serve a purpose, not merely set an example, whether for ourselves or others.
That is why we need to remain fully engaged on Rwandaâ€™s journey of transformation.
After all, the conditions for maintaining political stability are actually the same as those needed to build the prosperity that we can already see on the horizon.
Rwandans are optimistic about the future and have confidence in the direction chosen. This should reassure Rwandaâ€™s friends and partners as well.
Even misguided or deliberately harmful criticism can be the start of a conversation that leads to greater understanding on all sides.
What is important is that we respect each other.
If we stay the course, I have no doubt that we will reach our goals.
My family and I wish all Rwandans a Happy New Year.