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Only 10 Rwandans oppose Kagame third term




Rwandan lawmakers found only 10 people in nationwide consultations who opposed possible constitutional changes to allow strongman Paul Kagame a third term in power, a report said Tuesday.

Lawmakers began a national tour last month to gather opinions after both houses of parliament voted in support of constitutional change, backing a petition signed by millions of citizens.

Over 3.7 million people — over 60 percent of voters — signed the petition calling for a change to Article 101 of the constitution, which limits the president to two terms, according to Rwandan media.

On Monday, lawmakers submitted their report from the consultations to parliament.

“Of millions of Rwandans consulted by lawmakers on the need to amend Article 101 of the constitution in the past few weeks, only 10 were against the idea,” the New Times newspaper reported Tuesday.

Any change to the constitution would require a vote in support by at least three-quarters of both parliamentary houses, followed by a national referendum.

Kagame, 57, has been at the helm of Rwandan politics since 1994, when an offensive by his Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) rebels put an end to a genocide by Hutu extremists that left an estimated 800,000 people dead, most of whom were Tutsis.

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

From the trauma of genocide, he has been painted as a guarantor of stability and economic development, earning praise from donors — and his supporters say many in Rwanda view the prospect of his departure as a step into the unknown.

Critics say however that he has silenced the opposition and the media.

Kagame says the decision on a third term is for the “Rwandan people”.

The move comes amid a wider controversy in Africa over efforts by leaders to change constitutions in order to stay in office.

Neighbouring Burundi was plunged into turmoil in April when President Pierre Nkurunziza launched his successful bid for a third term in office, a move branded by opponents as unconstitutional and a violation of a peace deal that ended 13 years of civil war.

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  • Emmanuel Agada

    Paul Kigame has done well for his people. He has brought stability and economic development to his country men and women. His policies accelerated the healing process of the wound brought about by the genocide of the early 90s. Kigame of Rwanda should not be compared to Nkurunziza of Burundi. The former is loved by his people, at least the result of the opinion poll conducted showed. The amendment of the constitution to allow Kigame to continue is imperative. At this time in the history of Rwanda as a nation, sentiments should be thrown overboard and allow Kigame to continue as the president for consolidation. He should use the opportunity to groom a successor. The peace sustained so far is still fragile to leave the presidency in the hands of a greenhorn.

    • Vincent Bamigboye

      Sir, what happens if Kagame drops dead? Africans should stop tying the destiny of a country to that of a single person. We need to develop instiutions instead of individuals. Personalising the Presidency is wrong. Rwanda is a Republic & as such Kagame, admittedly a good man, has played his part. Time for him to go and have his rest.

      • ZINNI

        oooh hoo ask them

      • Nuri abdil

        Insitutions are being developed you can’t expect a country 20 years after a genocide to be a functioning as a “perfect” republic. What country has done that? I can’t think of a single post WW2 country including Europe that didn’t ultimatley have a strongman. The problem is “WESTERN” money going to militas. FDLR was funded by the french and Burundi looks like a powder keg.

    • okwuchukwu

      Excellent analysis. Yes very Brilliant !.

      That part of the world is still unstable. So it is wise for the Rwandans to desire peace by allowing the man who brought about peace to continue until such a time they know that they now have people like President Kagame to take over from him

      My brother God bless you for your thoughtfulness.


    Paul Kagame will die someday,it could a after re elections into his 3rd term victory,so what happens?his corpse will sit on the throne?he was second in comand,and was doing well,eight years on the throne,he finds no person(s) ligeable to thrown up as training?no body is trusted,loyal enough or even qualifies for his big shoes?Africans blackman,even if he get a third term,he will go for fourth,fifth until he become a life president like Mugabe,Nelson Mandela `s lesson is there for all to learn from Paul is an irreplaceable perfect leader today? depreciation will set in,age will come calling,performance will certainly drop,kagame`s long stay could spell doom in years to come for Ruwanda,Africa can`t afford anoher civil war in that tiny country