Rwandan senate clears current president for third term

Rwanda's parliament passes constitutional amendment enabling President Paul Kagame to govern for third consecutive term in 2017, possibly remain in power for the next two decades

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Nov 18, 2015

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame could potentially govern the country for the next two decades, according to the constitutional amendment that the parliament passed on Tuesday.

The constitutional changes will now be voted on in a national referendum and are expected to be passed with little opposition.

Kagame said on his Twitter account on Tuesday, "If I ran again, I would do more of what I am doing to improve the wellbeing of the citizens of Rwanda."

Lawmakers voted collectively to decrease the presidential term length from the current seven, to five years and keep a two-term limit, while an exception was made for Kagame, who will be able to govern for another seven-year term even after his current mission ends in 2017.

Kagame could then likely run for another two terms of five years each, after his seven year term ends, which means he would extend his rule to 2034.

Kagame won the elections in 2003 and 2010 and has governed Rwanda since his rebel army ended the 1994 massacre.

Kegame is generally seen as a guarantor of the economic stability and growth, after 20 years of genocide, but some dissidents say the move is arranged by a government and leader of a country where freedom of speech is seriously cut.

TRTWorld and agencies