Rwanda opposition backs constitutional amendment of term limits

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Majority of the opposition politicians have declared support for amendment to the Constitution allowing President Paul Kagame to run for a third term in office come 2017.

Rwandan lawmakers who have been consulting citizens on the amendment of the Constitution, met opposition politicians on Thursday under a consultative meeting in Kigali.

Nine out of 11 recognized political parties declared their support for constitutional amendment to lift the seven-year limit of the presidential term. Yet the Democratic Green Party made a stand against the move, while the PS-Imberakuri Party remained indecisive.

Supporters have declared that Kagame deserves to lead the country after 2017 and the Constitution should not be a stumbling block.

“We need Article 101 to be amended because in a democratic society people have powers to choose leaders of their own choice,” said Sheikh Musa Fazil Harelimana, minister of internal security.

Rwandans say they petitioned for amendment of article 101 to allow President Kagame to run for another term citing several reasons including, infrastructure, social benefits such as health insurance, one-cow-per family, monthly stipends to the poor, education for all, security and many more others.

These increasing voices are very specific. They want Article 101 that limits the incumbent to only two seven-year terms, to be amended to allow the sitting president for more time in office.

Francois Ngarambe, secretary general of the ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front said political parties have a duty to respect the voice of the Rwandans who petitioned parliament calling for scrapping of term limits.

Frank Habineza

Frank Habineza

However, Frank Habineza, head of the Democratic Green Party maintained that the constitution should not be amended so as to facilitate peaceful transfer of power.

“We petitioned parliament against the change of Article 101 of the Constitution because we believe Rwanda deserves sustainable peace and security only guaranteed by peaceful transfer of power,” Habineza said.


About the author

Olive Ndaka is the Junior Editor for RwandaEye. An investor and young entrepreneur, she is a quick learner and has contributed many articles for RwandaEye in Kinyarwanda.

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