President Paul Kagame’s allies have started a campaign seeking to push through constitutional amendments that will allow him a third term in office, according to reports.
Kagame’s current seven-year term expires in 2017 and the current constitution only provides for two terms in office.
He was elected in 2003 and 2010 and is therefore ineligible to stand again.
Critics say Kagame’s Rwanda Patriotic Front is using small parties to launch a case for a fresh mandate for the president to avoid it being seen as a direct move by his allies.
The minister of Internal Security Musa Fazil Harerimana was early this week quoted saying: “We do not accept the idea of limiting the number of mandates because this is not democracy.”
This re-emphasizes a recent article on a pro-government news website – Ighie, which said three parties including Ideal Democratic Party (PDI), Party for Solidarity and Progress and PS-Imberakuri had suggested that the cap on presidential terms be abolished.
Harerimana also is quoted to have said: “Democracy is leaving the choice to the people.”
He heads the PDI, a small party within the ruling PRF coalition.
Another ally, Christine Mukabunani and the president of PS-Imberakuri said the matter should be put to a vote.
“If people agree to change the constitution, then we too agree,” she told a news agency.
PS-Imberakuri, a former vocal opposition party, allegedly toned down after its founding leader, Bernard Ntaganda, who had intended to stand for the presidency in 2010, was hounded out after he was jailed for threatening state security before the elections.