KIGALI, Rwanda — Rwanda’s president declared he’ll run for a fourth time period subsequent yr, saying that “what the West thinks is just not my drawback,” after the US and others criticized the previous lifting of time period limits to increase his rule.
President Paul Kagame made the announcement in an interview with the French-language publication Jeune Afrique revealed Tuesday.
The 65-year-old Kagame has been president since 2000 and was declared the winner of the earlier election in 2017 with greater than 98% of the vote. He has been the de facto chief since Rwanda’s 1994 genocide.
He’s one in every of numerous African leaders who’ve extended their rule by pursuing adjustments to time period limits. In 2015, Rwandans in a referendum voted to elevate the two-term restrict. Kagame might keep in energy till 2034 if he wins a five-year time period subsequent yr after which one other.
He was re-elected as chair of the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Entrance occasion earlier this yr for an additional five-year time period.
Rwanda is “not free,” in line with the U.S.-based watchdog Freedom Home, whose newest report notes that the ruling occasion has been in energy with out interruption since 1994, “banning and repressing any opposition group that would mount a severe problem to its management.”
Kagame and his authorities have obtained reward for stabilizing the nation and creating public well being and the economic system because the genocide during which greater than 800,000 individuals have been killed. However human rights teams and different critics have lengthy alleged that the federal government harshly targets opponents, together with with extrajudicial killings even far outdoors the nation’s borders.
The federal government has objected to and dismissed such allegations. However earlier this yr, beneath diplomatic strain, Rwanda launched the opposition exile who had impressed the movie “Lodge Rwanda” after tricking Paul Rusesabagina onto a airplane to the nation and convicting him of terror offenses in a broadly criticized trial.
The opposite candidate who has declared to run for president is lawmaker Frank Habineza with the Inexperienced Democratic occasion, who obtained 0.45% of votes in 2017.
Habineza advised The Related Press his occasion was not shocked by Kagame’s announcement, and he stated they are going to proceed to battle for democracy.
“As we converse now, there’s a excessive stage of poverty and folks don’t have any meals and youth don’t have any jobs. That is what bothers Rwandans,” he stated.
However some Kagame supporters consider he wants extra time. William Harerimana, a 53-year-old businessman stated that “we must be affected person a bit extra and beneath him, the nation will register extra financial progress and profit all Rwandans.”
Anna reported from Nairobi, Kenya.