U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, says Washington expects Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, to set an example for the region and step down at the end of his second term in office in 2017.
She told reporters on Wednesday that “President Kagame has an opportunity to set an example for a region in which leaders seem too tempted to view themselves as indispensable to their own countries’ trajectories.
“We really do expect President Kagame to follow through on the commitments that he has made many times in the past to allow the next generation of leaders to come forward.
“We expect Kagame to step down at the end of his term in 2017.’’
In November, Rwandan Senate approved a draft constitution to allow Kagame, who had been in power since 2000, to seek a third term in office, clearing the path for a nationwide referendum expected to face much opposition.
Power said the U.S. was aware of the “parliamentary maneuverings” but noted that “Kagame himself has not said what his intentions are regarding a possible third term in office.’’
While addressing a newsmen on her plans as president of the UN Security Council for the month of December, she said the 15-nation council was discussing a possible visit to Rwanda’s neighbour Burundi in December, where there had been months of bloodshed.
Kagame, 58, who ruled Rwanda since 1994, is the latest long-serving ruler in Africa to attempt to extend his hold on power.
Similar moves had sparked violence and instability in Burkina Faso and Congo Republic.