Rwanda Parliament Votes To Allow Kagame Third Term

President Paul Kagame has been in power since 1994.

President Paul Kagame has been in power since 1994.

President Paul Kagame has been in power since 1994.

Rwanda’s lower house of parliament on Thursday passed a constitutional ammendment enabling President Paul Kagame to run for a third consecutive term in 2017. “I want to thank everyone who participated in this process, we have finished our work, we took into account the wishes of the the people,” said Donatille Mukabalisa, speaker of the lower house. Constitutional change must still be voted on by the upper house, before being put to a national referendum- but it is widely expected to be passed with little outspoken opposition. Lawmakers voted unanimously to approve cutting presidential terms from the current seven to five years, and maintain a two term limit. But an exception has been made for Kagame- who has been in power since 1994- to be allowed to run for another seven year term after his current mandate ends in 2017. Supporters portray Kagame as a guarantor of post genocide stability and the economic growth that has transformed the country over the past 20 years. But critics say the move is orchestrated by a government and leader with an iron grip on a country where freedom of expression is severely curtailed, and merely part of a wider trend of African leaders seeking to stay put. Rwanda’s Green Party, the country’s main opposition, said the changes were “inconsistent” with “the spirit of the constitution.”

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Chukwunonso Azinge is a Public health parasitologist whose variety of intrests ranges from international news reportage, writing articles on current world issues and of course football. Follow me on Twitter @azingelfc and on Facebook- Nonso 'King Kenny' Azinge.

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