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Rwandans vote on constitution changes to let Kagame extend rule

Dec 23, 2015 Following the move of several African leaders to amend their constitution, in a bid to stay longer in power, Rwandans recently voted in a referendum on whether to amend the constitution to allow President Paul Kagame remain in office for a third term.

As would be expected, the proposed amendment isn’t going down well with the United States and other Western powers.

58 year old Kagame has been praised by the United States for rebuilding the nation following the 1994 genocide. But they have also appealed to him that he should resist the lure of power and step down in 2017.

But the flip side of the story is that President Kagame hasn’t expressly stated that he is going to run in the next election. In fact, what he actually said was:

“I did not apply for this. You go and ask the Rwandans why they got involved in this. What is happening is people’s choice so ask people why they want… What future do they have for themselves? Not me holding their future. They have their own future in their own hands.”

Kagame was elected president in 2000, but he has effectively been in control since his rebel force marched into Kigali in 1994 to end the genocide.

While commenting on the possible outcome of the referendum, Nyinawabasinga Saidate, one of the voters enthusiastically said:

I am sure that “yes” will win a hundred percent; there is no doubt about that. Look at how all the people came this morning early and they came for “Yes”

Another voter, Emanuel Semahoro said:

“This constitution must be reviewed because there is some articles which we need to review so that our president will be able to participate in next election.”

If the constitution is changed, Kagame could legally seek another seven-year term and two five-year terms after that.

Whatever the outcome, the choice apparently is in the hands of every Rwandan.

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