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20 Sep, 2023 15:18

Rwandan president says he will run for fourth term

What Western powers think about the re-election bid is “not my problem,” Paul Kagame told Jeune Afrique
Rwandan president says he will run for fourth term

Rwandan President Paul Kagame has announced his intention to run for re-election to secure a fourth term in office in the East African country’s presidential elections in August of next year.

Yes, I am indeed a candidate,” Kagame told French magazine Jeune Afrique in an interview published online on Tuesday.

I am pleased with the confidence that Rwandans have placed in me. I will always serve them, as long as I can,” the outlet quoted the Rwandan leader as saying.

Kagame, 65, has been the de facto leader of the country since the end of Rwanda’s 1994 genocide but was first elected president in 2000. He was declared the winner of the country’s previous election in 2017 with more than 98% of the vote to earn a third term after a constitutional amendment in 2015 lifted the two-term limit.

In 2015, Western nations, including the US, a key ally of Rwanda, joined the opposition to condemn Kagame’s bid to retain power. The US demanded that the Rwandan leader set an example by stepping down at the end of his second term.

Earlier this year, Kagame was re-elected as the leader of the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front party, securing another five-year term in that position.

Washington-based non-governmental organization Freedom House described Rwanda as “not free” in a recent report, accusing the government of suppressing “political dissent through pervasive surveillance, intimidation, arbitrary detention, torture, and renditions or suspected assassinations of exiled dissidents.

The government has repeatedly denied the accusations.

While responding to a question about how Western nations might perceive his bid for re-election, Kagame told Jeune Afrique on Tuesday that he is “sorry for the West.

What the West thinks is not my problem,” he said, arguing that “People are supposed to be independent and should be allowed to organize themselves as they wish.