US urges Kagame to retire in 2017

Critics say President Paul Kagame is orchestrating constitutional change to facilitate his stay in power

Critics say President Paul Kagame is orchestrating constitutional change to facilitate his stay in power

The United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power has called on President Paul Kagame of Rwanda to relinquish power in 2017 when his second constitutional term expires.

Addressing Journalists in New York, Tuesday, Ms Power said “We really do expect President Kagame to follow through on the commitments that he has made many times in the past to allow the next generation of leaders to come forward.

Despite the fact that Kagame has on several occasions reiterated his intentions to leave office in 2017, the Rwandan National Assembly has already endorsed a draft constitution paving way for him to run for the third term, and the East African nation is due to hold a referendum on the issue  and Kagame’s third term bid, and the draft constitution are expected to garner overwhelming support.

“”We expect President Kagame to step down at the end of his term in 2017,” Power, the President of the United Nations Security council for the month of December told the press adding “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.”

Millions of Rwandans have petitioned parliament to amend the constitution and allow Kagame a third term but critics say Kagame and his ruling RPF have orchestrated what Samantha Power dubbed “parliamentary maneuverings” designed to prop up the Rwandan leader who has been in power since 2000.

President Kagame, in the past has been critical of leaders on the African continent who manipulate their countries’ constitutions to cling on to power.

Ambassador Power’s statements echo US President, Barack Obama’s sentiments while touring Africa in July. Obama appealed to the African Union to speak up against longevity in power.

“And just as the African Union has condemned coups and illegitimate transfers of power, the AU’s authority and strong voice can also help the people of Africa to ensure their leaders abide by term limits and their constitutions, nobody should be president for life,” Obama implored African Union leaders in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.