President Paul Kagame
Despite spending 23 years in office, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda has disclosed plans to run for a fourth term in the elections next year.
A former rebel chief, Kagame became president in April 2000 but has been regarded as the country’s de facto leader since the end of the 1994 genocide.
He was returned to office with more than 90 percent of the vote in elections in 2003, 2010, and 2017.
“Yes, I am indeed a candidate,” Kagame, who has ruled over the country with an iron fist for decades, told Jeune Afrique, a French-language news magazine, in an interview published online on Tuesday, September 19.
“I am pleased with the confidence that Rwandans have placed in me. I will always serve them, as long as I can,” the 65-year-old was quoted as saying.
The Rwandan government in March synchronized the dates for its parliamentary and presidential elections, which are due to be held in August next year.
Kagame presided over controversial constitutional amendments in 2015 that allowed him to run for more terms and stay in power until 2034.
Asked in 2022 if he would seek re-election, Kagame said he would “consider running for another 20 years”.
“Elections are about people choosing,” he told the France 24 news channel in an interview.