Days after Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame declared his intentions to run for 3rd term, the US government has come out saying it is ‘‘deeply disappointed” and concerned by his move.
“You have asked me to lead the country after 2017. Given the importance you ascribe to this matter, I can only accept. You clearly expressed your choices for the future of our country. The process allowed us the time to make certain that the proposed changes had merit and wisdom,” said Kagame, 58 in a televised New Year address.
In press statement issued by John Kirby, the State Department noted that: With this decision, President Kagame ignores an historic opportunity to reinforce and solidify the democratic institutions the Rwandan people have for more than twenty years labored so hard to establish.
Also read: Rwanda Referendum: ‘Yes’ vote gets 98.13%
In the December 18 referendum, Rwanda voters massively approved constitutional amendments allowing President Paul Kagame, to run for an third year term in 2017. In the referendum, over 98 percent of voters who cast vote said they wanted him to run for third term.
‘‘The United States believes constitutional transitions of power are essential for strong democracies and that efforts by incumbents to change rules to stay in power weaken democratic institutions. We are particularly concerned by changes that favor one individual over the principle of democratic transitions’’. Reads the US statement in part
As Rwanda moves toward local elections this year, presidential elections next year, and parliamentary elections in 2018, we call upon the Government of Rwanda to ensure and respect the rights of its citizens to exercise their freedom of expression, conscience, and peaceful assembly — the hallmarks of true democracies.
The United States remains committed to supporting the free and full participation of the Rwandan people in the electoral processes ahead.