KIGALI Rwandans will vote in a referendum on December 18 on no matter whether to amend the constitution and enable President Paul Kagame to stay in office until as late as 2034, officials stated on Tuesday, a strategy that mirrors moves in many other African countries.
Under the proposed amendment, Kagame, in power considering that 2000, would be in a position to run for office once more after his second mandate ends in 2017, 1st for a seven-year term and then for two additional stints of 5 years each, stretching to 2034.
Kagame, 58, is the latest veteran ruler in Africa to attempt to extend his hold on power. Equivalent moves have currently sparked violence and instability in Burundi, Burkina Faso and Congo Republic. So far there has been no political unrest in Rwanda.
“President Paul Kagame has accepted that a referendum be made on the present constitution,” the government stated in a statement late on Tuesday right after it had discussed the issue.
The existing constitution limits any head of state to two terms.
The United States earlier this month mentioned Kagame need to resist the lure of energy and step down following his second term to let a new generation of leaders to come via.
Kagame won widespread praise for rebuilding the landlocked Central African nation following a 1994 genocide killed about 800,000 men and women, most of them ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus.
While praising Rwanda’s economic and social development since then, human rights groups say the government severely restricts freedom of expression and brooks no dissent, charges the government denies.
(Reporting by Clement Uwiringiyimana writing by Drazen Jorgic Editing by Gareth Jones)