When citizens demand lifting of presidential term limits
I am genuinely divided on this question, understanding and supporting both sides of the debate in turn. I too am filled with trepidation at a Rwanda without President Kagame’s steady and masterly hand at the helm, but also fully appreciate the benefits of a leadership transition under his guidance and as a safeguard against the consequences of any kind of a “Manchurian Candidate”.
Ultimately though, a constitution isn’t a straitjacket but a living covenant with built-in rules for amendment as the polity requires. As long as the necessary minimum proportion of Rwandans required by the Constitution want a revision to that sacred document to cater to fundamental change in national need, then we should all be prepared to accept such change.
And only the views of Rwandans, alone, are relevant to this issue. Outsiders may express theirs but we are not obliged to take them into account.
Mwene Kalinda, Kigali, Rwanda
I believe in His Excellency President Paul Kagame; he is the best leader Rwanda has ever had. Under his exceptional, visionary and charismatic leadership, Rwanda has witnessed true transformation.
But one of the reasons for term limits is to avoid future abuse by others who may follow.
Any slight change to the present constitutional term limits opens the door to future abuse.
Nonetheless, power belongs to the people: If they change the constitutional term limits by referendum, then they will have opened the door themselves. We shall then be like the other African countries. I would wish that Rwanda sets a record which no other African leader has set with our President being the youngest African leader to leave power without tampering with the constitution.
This is a legacy which all his predecessors will fear to tamper with. He will be next to Nelson Mandela as Africa’s most influential leader if he does this. But I strongly believe in his incomparable leadership qualities, and I will vote him if term limits are extended.
James Munanura,Makerere Univeristy, Kampala, Uganda
Reactions to Salim Mugabo’s opinion, “When citizens demand lifting of presidential term limits”, (The New Times, July 1)