The Rwandan government has reassured the international community of its commitment to democracy.
The Rwandan High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ambassador Stanislas Kamanzi, stated this during a press conference in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
Ambassador Kamanzi explained that the adoption of the new constitution which allowed the incumbent President, Paul Kagame to run for a third term was a reflection of the political will of Rwandans.
According to him, the decision made to change the constitution was not the end of democracy in Rwanda.
The Rwandan High Commissioner to Nigeria, noted that the outcome of the referendum was not rigged but conducted peacefully and democratically last December 2015 in Rwanda.
“On December 18th 2015, Rwandans concluded the process of revising the constitution of 4th June 2003 by the adoption of a new constitution with an overwhelming majority of 98.3 percent through a referendum, ” he said.
He also revealed that about four million Rwandans had earlier made a petition to the parliament to provide room for President Paul Kagame to run for a third term if he wanted to, which led to the change of the constitution.
“The referendum provided an opportunity to review the constitution which was earlier adopted in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide. The new constitution gave priority to decisions of Rwandans. It also provided a framework to ensure democracy for continued development in Rwanda”, the Rwandan High Commissioner noted.
In Article 101 of the bygone constitution, the presidential term limit was seven years renewable only once, while the new constitution allows five years renewable once , with a provision of an extension for a seven year term to allow an incumbent President to run for a third term should he consent to the request of Rwandans.