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Rwandan parliament supports Kagame third term

Rwandan legislators approved a change in the country’s constitution which will allow President Paul Kagame to run for a third term in office

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Over 3,7 million Rwandans from all walks of life signed a petition demanding an amendment to Article 101 in the country’s constitution which limits the rule of an elected president to two terms, reported Rwanda’s New Times.

The country’s senate endorsed the petitions by 232 out of 24 senators, the lower chamber recorded 79 affirmatives out of 80 votes.

Thousands of citizens reportedly gathered within and outside the parliament building during the sessions, including droves of women dressed in Mushanana in support of the amendment. Kagame’s rule has seen a dramatic improvement in women’s rights where even 56% of MPs are women.

Many women turned up at Parliament dressed in the popular Rwandan Mushanana attire. Photo: Faustin Niyigena/New Times

Many women turned up at Parliament dressed in the popular Rwandan Mushanana attire. Photo: Faustin Niyigena/New Times

he public gallery of the Chamber of Deputies was full to capacity as MPs examined public petitions on the proposed amendment of Article 101 of the Constitution. Photo: Timothy Kisambira

he public gallery of the Chamber of Deputies was full to capacity as MPs examined public petitions on the proposed amendment of Article 101 of the Constitution. Photo: Timothy Kisambira

This approval is only the first step in a permanent change to the constitutional change. Any amendment must also be passed by a national referendum.

President Kagame has been at the top of Rwandan politics since 1994, when an offensive by his Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) rebels put an end to a genocide by Hutu extremists that left an estimated 800,000 people dead, most of whom were Tutsis. Many Rwandans credit much of the country’s successes as being owed to his leadership.

Photo: New Times