Rwandan President Paul Kagame has said he is looking at running again in 2024. The 64-year-old has been in power for more than 20 years, but he said he would consider remaining in office for another 20 years.
“I consider running for another 20 years. I have no problem with that,” Kagame told the France 24 news channel in an interview broadcast Friday when asked if he would seek re-election. “Elections are about people choosing,” he added.
In 2015, Kagame changed the constitution, allowing him to stay until 2034. During the last presidential elections held five years ago, he won 99% of the vote.
Other African leaders have been altering the term limits in the face of sweeping resistance. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who has ruled his nation since 1986, removed term limits in 2005. Kagame also fought in Museveni’s rebel army in helping the leader come to rule in Uganda.
Kagame’s rule came into being after his predecessor, Pasteur Bizimungu, stepped down. Kagame served as the country’s vice president and minister of defense from 1994 to 2000 until Bizimungu’s resignation moved him to president.
Kagame also was the leader of the rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front forces, which helped to overthrow the extremist Hutu government responsible for the 1994 genocide that killed a reported one million Tutsi and Hutu people.
From the deep tropical forests of Uganda to the State House of Rwanda, Kagame is indeed a true representation of the struggles that most African leaders have to go through to reach their political climax.
Kagame, whose leadership is often celebrated as an African success story, is accused by critics of being intolerant to dissent. A media law that was passed in the country’s parliament in 2017 essentially criminalized defamation of any official, including religious groups or their symbols.