Rwandan President Paul Kagame has said for the first time that he plans to run for a fourth term in elections scheduled for next year.
“Yes, I am a candidate”said Mr. Kagame, who has ruled the country with an iron fist for decades, in an interview published online on Tuesday. “I am happy with the trust that the Rwandans have placed in me. I will always serve them, as long as I can.”declared the sixty-year-old in power since 2000.
“I’m considering running for 20 more years, I have no problem with that“, Paul Kagame declared in September 2022, when asked about his possible candidacy in 2024. “Elections are an opportunity for people to choose», he added in an interview with the France 24 channel. Strong man of the country since the 1994 genocide, president since 2000, Paul Kagame had the Constitution modified in 2015, which theoretically allows him to remain in power until 2034.
During the last election, in 2017, Paul Kagame, now 65 years old, was re-elected for seven years with almost 99% of the votes. Paul Kagame was only 36 years old in 1994 when at the head of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), he chased out of the country the Hutu extremists responsible for a genocide that left at least 800,000 dead, according to the UN, mainly within of the Tutsi minority.
Paul Kagame has acquired a figure of father of the Nation as much respected as feared in Rwanda and on the rest of the African continent. Outside, critics portray him more as an enlightened despot.