03:32 am
26 May 2017

Rwanda’s parliament says yes to Paul Kagame’s bid to run for third term

Rwandan politicians have backed a motion to let President Paul Kagame run for a third term in office, paving the way for a referendum to amend the constitution.

Mr Kagame has won praise for the progress Rwanda has made since the 1994 genocide, when more than 800,000 people, mostly Tutsis and moderate Hutus, were killed. But critics accuse the 57-year-old of trampling on media and political freedoms.

As the minister of defence and then vice-president, Mr Kagame was widely seen as the power behind the throne even before he took the presidency in 2003, reportedly winning 95 per cent of the vote. He was re-elected in 2010 with a similarly resounding mandate. The next elections are due in 2017.

Ms Bouka said the failure of leaders in Africa’s Great Lakes region to hand over power smoothly could endanger their achievements.

“Until this is possible in a country like Rwanda, all the strides, whether economic or developmental, will be temporary. Everything will be tested in terms of transition in Rwanda,” she said.

MPs who spoke during the session backed the abolition of the two-term limit. “We must listen. After the petitions of the three million, I don’t see anything else. This is the real model of democracy,” said Nkusi Juvenal, a legislator from the socialist party.