Lawmakers Vote to Support Third Term for President Kagame
Rwandan parliament have voted to support a change to the constitution that would allow President Paul Kagame to stand for a third term come 2017.
With at least 3.7 million petitions written to Parliament by different citizen groups regarding the amendment of article 101 of the constitution, both chambers of the Rwandan Parliament overwhelmingly voted to start the process to amend the constitution.
â€œIt is only legitimate that we look into the demands of the people,â€ Speaker of Parliament Donatille Mukabalisa said ahead of the vote.
Hundreds of Rwandans turned up at parliament on Tuesday morning to watch the debate on presidential term limits.
The senate sitting was chaired by the President of the senate Bernard Makuza and all 24 senators present voted to have the Amendment reviewed with two absent. It was noted that those absent were on sick leave and official government mission duties respectively.
In the lower chamber, there was 100 percent turn up with all 80 members of parliament taking turns to speak on why the process for amending the constitution should start.
Seventy nine voted to start the process of amending the constitution with one vote invalid.
Speaking during the session Honorable Mukakanyamugenge noted that the constitution should be changed to enable the continuity of Rwanda’s development path.
â€œWe should ensure President Kagame is given more time to continue the good service delivery,” she said.
Although he seemed not to support the process of lifting term limits, M.P Nkusi noted that the people’s will should be respected.
â€œEven though I do not agree with the process of amending article 101, the citizens have spoken and their views should be respected,” the outspoken member of parliament said.
With more than two thirds of the votes in both houses requesting for the process of amending the constitution to start, members of parliament are set to start constitution consultancies regarding the matter.
President Kagame, who has won two elections, has been hailed by Rwandans for driving fast economic growth.