Rwandan President Paul Kagame has confirmed that he’ll run for a fourth time period subsequent yr, which might lengthen his presidency to just about three a long time.
“I’m pleased with the boldness that Rwandans have in me,” President Kagame This came in statements to the French-language magazine Jeune Afrique on Tuesday.
He confronted criticism from human rights teams who accused him of suppressing dissent.
However the president mentioned he was not bothered by the opinion of outsiders.
Kagame won the last presidential election in 2017 With roughly 99% of the votes. Human Rights Watch mentioned that the vote passed off in a context wherein freedom of expression was severely restricted.
Within the interview with the journal, the president mentioned he was completely happy to proceed so long as the Rwandans wished him to remain and serve them.
He had beforehand hinted that he may run for re-election, however that is the primary time he has definitively introduced that he can be a candidate in subsequent yr’s elections scheduled for August.
The 65-year-old has been the dominant power in Rwanda since his then insurgent group, the Rwandan Patriotic Entrance, got here to energy on the finish of the genocide.
However he solely turned president in 2000 after the resignation of Pastor Bizimungu.
In 2003, Rwanda adopted a brand new structure that grants the president a seven-year time period, renewable as soon as.
However this was amended in a controversial referendum in 2015. The adjustments, permitted by 90% of the vote, allowed the president to serve two further five-year phrases beginning in 2024. He was additionally allowed to run for a 3rd seven-year time period. Class of 2017.
In response to a query concerning the West’s opinion on his choice to run once more, Kagame instructed the Jeune Afrique newspaper that “what these nations assume will not be our downside.”
“Personally, I now not know what’s appropriate with Western values. What’s democracy? The West tells others what to do? But when they violate their rules, how will we hearken to them?” President Kagame mentioned.
He added, “Looking for to switch democracy to another person is already a violation of democracy itself. Persons are purported to be unbiased and ought to be allowed to prepare themselves as they please.”
Final yr, Human Rights Watch Central Africa director Louis Mudge mentioned: “Rwanda is a very dangerous country where it is very dangerous to oppose the government, let alone be a political opponent,” he told the BBC..
Many distinguished opposition figures had been attacked, and a few had been killed whereas in exile.
President Kagame has up to now strongly defended Rwanda’s human rights file, saying his nation respects political freedoms.