Kagame “accepts” to run for third term

President Paul Kagame casting his vote in Kigali, Friday voters are set to overwhelmingly okay the decision to amend the constitution and allow his a third term

President Paul Kagame casting his vote in last month’s referendum in which voters overwhelmingly okayed the decision to amend the constitution and allow him a third term

The wait is over, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda has officially announced he will run for presidency in the next election set for 2017.

In his official televised new year’s message to all Rwandans, Kagame said that the decision comes after he put into consideration the importance of the request from millions of citizens who asked him lead the country again after 2017.
”Given the importance and consideration you attach to this, I can only accept.”

Kagame’s decision over the third term has been long overdue as Rwandans and the international community had long waited for the Rwandan leader to state whether or not he intends to run.

It comes days after the recent referendum in which over 98% of voters voted “Yes” to the new constitution that allows the president to run for a third term.

During the 13th Edition of Annual National Dialogue council Kagame lashed at his critics saying that when the right time comes he will peacefully relinquish power.

In his statements on December 31, Kagame embarked on the importance of respecting each other and the decision of Rwandans.

He said that Rwandans are optimistic about the future and have confidence in the direction chosen.

“This should reassure Rwanda’s friends and partners as well. Even misguided or deliberately harmful criticism can be the start of a conversation that leads to greater understanding on all sides” Kagame said.

While Kagame’s decision to pursue the third term bid was welcomed by his supporters back home, it is likely to affect Rwanda’s ties with the West particularly the European Union and the United States. The duo has voiced strong opposition to Kagame’s potential third term run saying the 58 Rwandan leader and his ruling RPF have manipulated the country’s legal systems to prop up the president.

“President Kagame has an opportunity to set an example for a region in which leaders seem too tempted to view themselves as indispensable to their own countries’ trajectories,” Samantha Power, US Ambassador to the United Nations said earlier last month adding the US was aware of the “parliamentary maneuverings” in Rwanda purposely taking place to ensure Kagame extends his stay in power.