Rwanda: President Kagame says he will run for fourth term
20/09/2023 21:38 in Africa News
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Rwandan President Paul Kagame has announced for the first time that he plans to run for a fourth term in next year's election.
“I am satisfied with the trust the Rwandan people have placed in me,” Kagame, 65, told French-language magazine Jeune Afrique. I will always serve them as long as I can. Yes, I am a good candidate."
In March, the Rwandan government decided to synchronize the dates of legislative and presidential elections, scheduled for August 2024. Until then, Kagame had not publicly expressed his intentions, but he had introduced controversial constitutional amendments that would allow him to serve a third term and could allow him to stay in power until year 2034.
A former rebel leader, Kagame has been considered the country's de facto leader since the end of the 1994 genocide.
He returned to power – with more than 90% of the vote – in the 2003, 2010 and 2017 elections.
As Rwanda now claims to be one of the most stable countries on the African continent, Kagame faces increasing criticism.
Human rights groups accuse him of ruling in a climate of fear. They say his government has targeted political opponents, including by extrajudicially executing them, and silencing independent media.
The government has denied these allegations.
Rwanda is ranked 131st out of 180 countries in the 2023 World Press Freedom Index created by Reporters Without Borders.
The only remaining candidate so far in the presidential race is lawmaker Frank Habineza, of the Green Democratic Party.
He said he was not surprised by Kagame's announcement and would continue to fight for democracy.