Kagame Scolds Monarch Presidents
Kagame opposes the precedents of African leaders -- such as Uganda's Yoweri Museveni and Chad's Idriss Deby -- who have both extended their terms thanks to constitutional changes: "It's not a good habit.â€?
(Rwandaâ€™s Kagame, shown with Bush, no longer sees eye-to-eye with Museveni).
Rwandan President Paul Kagame has scolded African leaders who seek to change constitutions to extend their tenure in office, saying such moves paint a bad picture of the continent.
"This issue is becoming a big problem that causes severe consequences in our countries," Kagame said late on Sunday. "It is not worth it and should be prevented. Anything in the constitution could be changed but not the presidential term limits."
Kagame himself has dominated politics in the tiny central African nation since leading a rebel army that helped end a 1994 genocide that killed some 800,000 people. Elected president by the national assembly in 2000, Kagame then won the first post-genocide poll in 2003 and is now serving a seven-year term.
But despite his own lengthy dominance at home, Kagame opposes the precedents of African leaders -- such as Uganda's Yoweri Museveni and Chad's Idriss Deby -- who have both extended their terms thanks to constitutional changes.
"It's not a good habit. We in Rwanda must strive to prevent it," Kagame told Contact FM radio station. Various other African leaders have tried to change constitutions to extend their terms, then backed down under pressure from both at home and abroad.
Nigerian senators in May, for example, threw out a bill to amend the charter, defeating a campaign by supporters of President Olusegun Obasanjo to let him stand for a third term. Kagame said leaders who had attempted to change constitutions to stay in power had used the pretext of pressure from local populations, which he said was not a justification. Friends during the Rwanda uprising, Kagame and Uganda's Museveni are now bitter political rivals.
A strict disciplinarian, Kagame is credited for restoring stability and promoting good governance in a nation where more than half of its 8.5 million people live on less than $1 per day. But critics accuse him of suppressing opposition and limiting free speech.
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