In a move that has become all too familiar in Africa, the Rwandan President Paul Kagame will run for a third term. In December a referendum was held which decided whether or not President Kagame could run for a third term.
Specifically the referendum would allow President Kagame to run for another seven year term in 2017. In addition, he would also be eligible to run for two more five year terms, effectively meaning that Mr. Kagame could theoretically rule Rwanda until 2034.
The referendum passed with more than 90% approval. However, President Kagame did not immediately reveal if he would run.
During a New Year’s address to the nation, Mr. Kagame announced he would run for the presidency in 2017.
"You requested me to lead the country again after 2017. Given the importance and consideration you attach to this, I can only accept.
"But I don't think that what we need is an eternal leader," he said.
Observers noted that the address was also directed against Mr. Kagame’s critics. Both the US and the European Union (EU) expressed their displeasure with the referendum.
President Kagame officially came to power in 2000, however he has effectively been in power since his troops marched into Kigali in 1994 effectively ending the Rwandan Genocide.
Since 1994 the country has seen a high level of economic development. However, President Kagame has been accused of authoritarianism. There is only one opposition party and most oppositional figures in Rwanda are either exiled, killed, or imprisoned.