Rwanda’s legislators have this Monday dispatched across the country to seek views of citizens on amendment of the constitution.
Over 4 million Rwandans signed petitions and submitted to Parliament seeking for the scrapping of article 101 to lift presidential term limits.
The petitioners are driven by their desire to re-elect President Paul Kagame in 2017 when his second and last term expires.
The current constitution allows for only two 7-year terms, otherwise the provision, articulated in article 101 of the constitution, can only be amended through a referendum.
“This article should be changed to allow President Kagame seek re-election. He is still strong and his love to the country is unprecedented,” Eugene Habiyaremye, a resident of Shyogwe sector, Muhanga district in South told KT Press.
At Shyogwe, Habiyaremye, a horticulture farmer gathered with 1000 neighbours, met vice president of Senate Jeanne D’arc Gakuba, Senator Niyongana Galican and Consolee Uwimana who explained key articles of the constitution and under which circumstances they can be changed.
At the same time, Deputy Alphonsine Mukamugema, met about 500 residents of Rukoma sector, Kamonyi district. The legislator asked the residents to explain what they want very clearly.
“Suppose you opt for change of article 101 and after President Kagame, a new president comes and does not meet your expectations. What will happen?,” she asked the residents.
Benilde Uwingabiye, a resident of Rukoma sector proposed that, “We (citizen) can remove term limits in our constitution but keep the power to have a president step out anytime if he/she is no longer serving our interests.”
Uwingabiye, a mother of one, missed education opportunity due to bad leadership.
She says, she wants Kagame to extend his rule because he introduced universal access to education. “My four children will study up to university, because Kagame makes it happen.”
Other residents say they advise anyone with intentions of transforming the country, to do so under Kagame’s leadership.
“Anyone with love for the country can help Kagame achieve what he started in a different capacity. Kagame is the only one we want as president,” says Joseph Nkundakozera, a teacher from Burera, Northern Province.
Nkundakozera neighborhood has access to piped water. Previously they walked for 10 km to fetch water at Burera-Ruhondo Lake.