In a significant political development, Rwandan President Paul Kagame has officially declared his intention to run for a fourth term in office.
The announcement was made during an interview with Jeune Afrique, a prominent French-language news magazine, on Tuesday. President Kagame, who has maintained a firm grip on power for decades, expressed his gratitude for the trust placed in him by the Rwandan people.
“Yes, I am indeed a candidate. I am pleased with the confidence that Rwandans have placed in me. I will always serve them, as long as I can,” stated the 65-year-old leader during the interview.
This announcement comes as Rwanda prepares for synchronized parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled for August next year. The Rwandan government decided to merge the dates of these elections in March, setting the stage for an intense political contest.
President Kagame’s candidacy had been the subject of speculation for some time, as he had not made his intentions clear prior to this announcement. Notably, his previous term was made possible through controversial constitutional amendments that allowed him to serve a third term as the head of state.
A former rebel chief, Kagame has been the de facto leader of Rwanda since the end of the devastating 1994 genocide. During his tenure, he has overseen significant socio-economic development in the country, although his leadership style has also been criticized for its authoritarian tendencies.
In the last presidential election in 2017, President Kagame secured a resounding victory, winning nearly 99 percent of the votes.
His decision to seek a fourth term will undoubtedly shape the upcoming electoral landscape and generate discussions on the future of Rwandan leadership.
As the election season in Rwanda unfolds, both domestic and international observers will closely monitor the political developments, with President Kagame’s candidacy likely to be a focal point of scrutiny.