Kagame clarifies reasons for running for president again

By Esther Muhozi
On 2 April 2024 at 12:17

President Paul Kagame said that Rwanda’s situation and its challenges are the fundamental reasons he accepts to continue leading the country, to achieve what citizens desire.

He mentioned that the citizens’ request for him to continue leading is not due to a love for power but rather because of his perspective on the country’s condition.

Kagame made these remarks on Monday in a conversation with Radio 10 and Royal FM, where various topics were covered.

He said, "I, too, see the existing problems, as I have eyes. If it were a country of choice and there was a capability for things to go well, I would have left a long time ago. If continuing would pose a problem to people’s livelihoods, then I would feel it."

"People will say what they say, but we must look and provide a platform for Rwandans to express their thoughts. It won’t take much time, and it won’t escape me; if they were to say ’this person has brought us this far’, I would leave before they say so," added Kagame.

He commented that those criticizing him for staying in power for too long fail to recognize that the countries they govern are different from Rwanda or other African countries.

Kagame gave the example of the United States, a country that has been long established and has set its course, suggesting that what is done there should not necessarily be replicated in developing countries.

He stated, "Not all countries are the same around the world, what is done in one country cannot necessarily be done in another."

The Head of State explained that some countries criticizing African leaders also have leaders in their ranks who may have different titles but have stayed in power for a long time.

He said, "Let’s say because it’s the Prime Minister of a certain country, they have the right to continue, they just change the title from President to Prime Minister or Chancellor, and stay there until they are tired. You know some who have been there for 20 years."

He emphasized that what should be considered is what a leader does for the people, rather than counting the years.

"Citizens reach a point of fatigue. There should be policies to correct things so people don’t get stuck in that rut. If they haven’t grown tired, why should you?" Kagame wondered.

The President has agreed to run for presidency again in the elections that will take place in July this year, having been nominated by the RPF Inkotanyi party.

He began leading Rwanda in 2000, succeeding Pasteur Bizimungu who had resigned, and ran for his first term in 2003, in the first elections after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

President Kagame has clarified reasons for running for president again.