Rwandan President, Paul Kagame who has ruled for 23 years campaigns for 4th term 

Rwandan President, Paul Kagame has said for the first time that he plans to run for a fourth term in elections due to be held next year despite spending 23 years in power.

“Yes, I am indeed a candidate,” Kagame, who has ruled over the country with an iron fist for decades, told Jeune Afrique, a French-language news magazine, in an interview published online on Tuesday.

Rwandan President, Paul Kagame campaigns for 4th term after 23 years in power
Rwandan President, Paul Kagame

“I am pleased with the confidence that Rwandans have placed in me. I will always serve them, as long as I can,” the 65-year-old was quoted as saying.

The Rwandan government in March decided to synchronise the dates for its parliamentary and presidential elections, which are due in August 2024.

Kagame had previously not made his intentions clear, but presided over controversial constitutional amendments in 2015 that allowed him to run for more terms and stay in power until 2034.

A former rebel chief, Kagame became president in April 2000 but has been the country’s de facto leader since the end of the 1994 genocide.

He was returned to office — with more than 90 percent of the vote — in elections in 2003, 2010 and 2017.

Kagame’s only known challenger in the upcoming elections is opposition Green Party leader Frank Habineza, who announced in May his intention to run in 2024.

He said the president’s plan to stand again next year “is not a surprise”.

“We are not scared of him, we are getting organised better as a political party to put up a better campaign than we did in 2017. We are confident,” he told AFP in Kigali.

“Democracy is a struggle so we shall continue to fight democratically for political space and democracy, rule of law and human rights in Rwanda.”

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