Rwanda’s Kagame rejects U.S. criticism of plan to extend rule

Rwandan President Paul Kagame rejected U.S. criticism of his decision to seek a third term as leader of the East African nation.

Kagame, 58, announced on Dec. 31 he will run for office again in elections in 2017 after voters approved a change to the constitution. The U.S. State Department said Sunday it was “deeply disappointed” with Kagame for “ignoring an historic opportunity to reinforce and solidify the democratic institutions the Rwandan people have for more than 20 years labored so hard to establish.”

African issues including poverty, disease and governance “will not easily be solved by what is behind this” attitude, Kagame said in statements on his Twitter account Monday. “There are quite many very disappointing things happening across the globe. We hope to carry our own burden and not be others’ burden.”

Kagame has governed Rwanda since 2000, after he led a rebel army that ended the 1994 genocide in which 800,000 people were killed. The amendment would also enable him to stand in two subsequent elections for the future, with a reduced term limit of five years, potentially retaining the country’s top job until 2034.

 – Bloomberg