Rwandan Security minister Fazil Harelimana tables end of presidential term limits
Kigali – Within two months, two Members of the Lower Chamber will table a bill seeking an amendment to the 2003 Constitution to remove terms limits to allow President Kagame to stay in office, RNA can exclusively reveal.
A small political party Ideal Democratic Party (PDI) of Interior Minister Sheikh Musa Fazil Harelimana has instructed its two Deputes in the Lower Chamber of Parliament to come up with a bill to amend Article 101 in the Constitution.
The Article reads: “The President of the Republic is elected for a term of seven years renewable only once. Under no circumstances shall a person hold the office of President of Republic for more than two terms.”
Should PDI Deputes MUKAMA Abbas and HAMIDOU Omar get their way, President Kagame – who has repeatedly indicated that he does not intend to stay in power, will have the leeway to contest as many seven-year terms as he wishes.
The proposal to amend this Article is part of recommendation adopted by a PDI congress which met Saturday. Up 100 party delegates converged in Kigali apparently to review how the just concluded presidential poll was conducted – among other issues.
The delegate who raised the idea, whom RNA has not readily established where he came from, said the people down in the villages are ‘crying’ that they will not accept anybody else to be their president apart from Paul Kagame.
Immediately, there was unanimous applause as all the members responded in unison to the proposal and it was immediately adopted as the first among about five recommendations from the congress.
The recommendation also instructs the two PDI Deputes to work on a constitutional amendment bill to have the term limits Article scrapped.
Party leader Sheikh Harelimana told reporters on the sidelines of the congress that PDI was going to push for a referendum on term limits.
“There are articles in the constitution which are a burden to Rwandans,” he said, adding that it was the constitutional right of the people of Rwanda to change anything they feel they don’t want.
Sheikh Harelimana was the vice president of the electoral commission during the 2003 presidential polls – in which President Kagame scooped some 95.6 percent of the vote. Sheikh Harelimana was eventually appointed Governor of the Western Province.
In the March 2006 cabinet shuffle, Sheikh Harelimana was brought into cabinet as Internal Security Minister as party rival Mr. Andre Bumaya was thrown out – and consequently fled the country in March this year.
Prior to the 2003 Constitution which outlawed religious links for parties, the “I” in PDI stood for “Islamic”, but that had to be changed to “Ideal”.
PDI has been among about six small parties which have continuously thrown their weight in coalition behind the dominant ruling RPF party. For the 2008 Parliamentary polls, PDI had three candidates on the 80-member coalition list, but among the 43 who went to the Lower Chamber, was only two PDI Deputes.