Rwandan President Paul Kagame has announced for the first time that he plans to run for a fourth term in next year’s elections.
“I am happy with the confidence Rwandans have shown in me. I will always serve them as long as I can. Yes, I am indeed a candidate,” Mr Kagame, 65, told the French-language magazine Jeune Afrique.
The Rwandan government decided in March to synchronize the dates of its legislative and presidential elections, which are scheduled for August 2024.
Kagame had not publicly stated his plans until then, but he has undertaken contentious constitutional revisions that have allowed him to serve a third term and may allow him to govern until 2034.
Kagame, a former rebel leader, has been regarded as the country’s de facto leader since the end of the 1994 genocide.
He was returned to power – with over 90% of the vote – in the 2003, 2010 and 2017 elections.
While Rwanda today claims to be one of the most stable countries on the African continent, human rights organizations accuse Kagame of leading in an environment of fear, silencing dissent and restricting freedom of expression.