If you were paying attention to U.S. President Barack Obama’s maiden visit to Ethiopia and Kenya, then you probably remember he said: “Under our Constitution, I cannot run again. I think if I ran I could win.”
Well, we hate to burst Obama’s bubbles but according to a poll done by Monmouth University, he has about 26% chance of winning the next Presidential Elections in the U.S. However, in Africa it is the accepted norm where Presidents go for more than two terms in office; two-term presidency is, in fact, the abnormal thing.
Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza just ‘won’ his third term as President amidst the ethnic-fueled mayhem. Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni has been the President of that country since 1986 and is still on the Presidential race come the 2016 general polls.
As to whether or not Burundi and Uganda’s Presidents are loved or liked by the people is a subject for the political analyst. However, their counterpart the strongman Paul Kagame the current President of Rwanda seems more than likely to ‘granted’ a third term by his people.
Last month, Rwandese lawmakers were gathering opinions on whether or not President Kagame should be allowed to vie for a third term. The country’s constitution limits Presidents not to serve more than two terms, and Kagame is in the twilights period of his second term.
It has now emerged that the majority of Rwandese rate their current president so high that they would be willing to give him a third term in office. The lawmakers went on a nationwide tour last month to collect the people’s opinion on the changing of the country’s constitution to allow the President Kagame a third term in office.
The petition was signed by over 3.7 million people (60% of the voters) all in favor of amending Article 101 of Rwanda’s constitution that limits the country’s presidential terms to just two. At the beginning of this week, the lawmakers submitted their report to the parliament.
The New Times reported: “Of millions of Rwandans consulted by lawmakers on the need to amend Article 101 of the constitution in the past few weeks, only 10 were against the idea.”
If the country is going to change its constitution, it will need at least 75% of parliamentarians and a national referendum in favor of such a move.
Paul Kagame has been in Rwanda’s political scene since 1994, which is when the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) under his leadership led a peace restoration campaign that ended the genocide by Hutu extremists. A genocide that claimed more than 800,000 lives majority of whom were Tutsis.
He first served at a Minister of Defense before becoming the Vice President, but all along he was perceived to be the epicenter of power before he ascended to become the country’s President. He ran for the presidency in 2003 and won by a landslide and got 95% of the votes. He was again reelected in 2010 by an equally wide margin.
Once again, Rwanda will be conducting its Presidential Elections come 2017. Political and economic experts have described Paul Kagame as a guarantor of peace, stability, and economic growth. He is certainly in the good book of international donors and enjoys widespread support across Rwanda, many of whom view his exit from power as a step into uncharted territories.
However, there are critics who claim President Kagame has silenced the opposition and the media. Kagame himself says the decision on whether or not he will vie for a third term is the decision of the people of Rwanda.
Well soon after the report tabled by the lawmakers was made public. Many people took to all sort of avenues to air their opinion about Kagame’s possible third term in office. Including President Paul Kagame himself.
It also happened that a Kenya tweep gave his view on the matter by replying to a tweet made by Kagame. Then Kagame replied back, and it erupted into a tweepf where Kenyans On Twitter (KoT) protected one of their own against the tweet made by Kagame.
@PaulKagame I really hope sir, you will not ruin your legacy by being President for life.
— Levi Kones (@levikones) August 10, 2015
I would like to point out that KoT are not the type to be handled carelessly. If you doubt it, the follow these hashtags #SomeoneTellPatRoberson, #SomoneTellCNN, #WhatRutoShouldSteal and now #SomeoneTellKagame
Zimbabwe was once the most self sufficient country in Africa. With the same leader, all have gone. Because of greed. #SomeoneTellKagame
— Robert ALAI (@RobertAlai) August 11, 2015
#SomeOneTellKagame that if he believes he has done Rwanda any good and people are feeling good he should relinquish power and enjoy THE GOOD
— Dikembe (@Disembe) August 11, 2015
#SomeOneTellKagame true leaders don’t put opposition in jail nor murder them. True leaders create more leaders. Rwanda needs a new president
— Laure Uwase (@LaureUwase) August 11, 2015
— Akaliza Keza Gara (@AkalizaKeza) August 11, 2015
#someonetellKagame that the presidency is not marriage where its “untill death do us part”.Serve your term and let others also serve.
— Just Arnold (@Arnoldwangs) August 11, 2015
KoT are not always right in their attacks, perhaps this is one such attack they should have kept off. This tweepf could easily escalate into a KoT vs RWoT affair.