RWANDA: Kagame Throws Succession Debate Open

advice geneva;”>Kagame told RPF extended National Executive Committee which convened at the Amahoro mini-stadium last Friday the party must look critically into the succession debate.

price geneva;”>Kagame said RPF “should aim at finding a formula that will ensure change.”

story geneva;”>He clarified this would enhance “continuity of the party and eventual stability of the nation.”

The President has on several occasions insisted he will not seek the alteration of the Constitution to for another term in office.

During the RPF meeting, cadres asked Kagame not to “change the winning team” and vowed to vote for his return after 2017.

Article 101 of the Rwanda Constitution provides that “The President of the Republic is elected for a term of seven years renewable only once.”

It further reads: “Under no circumstances shall a person hold the office of President of Republic for more than two terms.”

But Kagame is being urged to stay around.

“Some people are asking me to stay in office but some are asking whether I will leave in 2016. Some are saying we change the Constitutional provision so you (RPF) go out there and research from citizens and determine their position on this,” advised Kagame.

He said much as Rwanda was on a steady path of economic growth and recovery, RPF must factor in their recommendations the cardinal element of “change.”

The succession debate is heating up in Rwanda as it happened in Uganda before Parliament amended the Constitution to allow Museveni stand for a third term in 2006.

Last month, Kagame said this was not the right time to discuss whether he would seek a third term in office.

The President described such a discussion as “premature” and “diversionary.”

“We have much bigger issues to handle now. I wouldn’t want that third term issue to derail us from our ambitious agenda,” Kagame told journalists in Kigali during a monthly press conference.

Residents of the Western Province had on separate occasions asked the same question during the President’s three-day Citizen Outreach tour.

“Many people ask me about it. We will focus on it when time comes,” Kagame told journalists, adding, “let’s cross the bridge when we get there.”

He added: “We’ve been through much bigger challenges; that should not be an issue.”

Kagame won the presidential election with 93 percent in 2010 and has since vowed to step down at the end of this term but critics say he might stay around.


Meanwhile, Kagame told the RPF gathering RPF as a party has achieved more than what can be achieved in 25 years.

“RPF members committed to achieve objectives without waiting on each other but complementing each other. That is why we managed to achieve what we have achieved in such a short time. The RPF I know can be hurt but can never be broken.”

Regarding the ongoing Congo crisis, Kagame said the reason why the problems in Congo don’t get solved is because people tend to separate Eastern Congo from Congo itself as if it is not part of Congo.

“It should be understood that this is a Congolese problem and also a regional problem. However, the ongoing crisis was mainly orchestrated to cause problems for Rwanda as evidenced by the way the so called UN experts did their report hurriedly and decisions were made against Rwanda long before the report was even concluded and without allowing Rwanda to defend herself against the accusations,” he said.

“But people should get used to the fact that Rwandans are not people who will accept to be accused of wrong doing when they know they have not done any wrong.”

President Kagame called on the young people to always endeavor to live with dignity, if they don’t want to be taken for granted:

“You will realise that it is much easier to live without dignity than to live with dignity. In RPF we wish that all Rwandans live with the dignity that others have taken for granted. We want a decent life, a life of dignity. Some have taken dignity for granted and believe they can now decide who should have the same or not…Rights are not a textbook issue. Rights are a life lived by people and you can’t be the one to decide it for us. How better off would you be if you accepted to be made guilty of crimes you did not commit?”

President Kagame said that living and identifying with the people is the best defense that Rwanda will ever have:

“Rwanda emerges unscathed from all turmoil because we are right and correct and importantly, we are one with our people. The measure of leadership is how you connect with people and inspire them to deal with challenges facing them.”


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