[VIDEO] Kagame says 'yes' to millions of Rwandans

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Zura Mukaruhara, 85, expresses her joy after voting in the December 2015 referendum on constitutional amendment. (File)

President Paul Kagame has accepted to run for presidency again after his second term ends in 2017, as requested by millions of Rwandans in last month’s referendum.

He announced this in his end of year message delivered on national television at the clock of mid-night.

The President noted that last year was eventful and positive for the country, pointing to the revised Constitution endorsed by over 98 per cent of Rwandans.

“You clearly expressed your choices for the future of our country. The process allowed us the time to make certain that the proposed changes had merit and wisdom. You requested me to lead the country again after 2017. Given the importance and consideration you attach to this, I can only accept,” the Head of State said.

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President Kagame’s New Year message

Fellow Rwandans,

Friends of Rwanda

I would like to convey to you my best wishes for a happy New Year. May 2016 bring your aspirations closer, including for our nation’s progress.

The year that has just ended was eventful and positive for our country. The unity of our people is unshakably strong, and the work of nation-building continues apace.

Against this background, in order to fortify the gains we have made, Rwandans asked for a revised Constitution, which they approved in the recent referendum.

You clearly expressed your choices for the future of our country.

The process allowed us the time to make certain that the proposed changes had merit and wisdom.

You requested me to lead the country again after 2017. Given the importance and consideration you attach to this, I can only accept.

What remains is to follow thenormal laws and procedures when the time comes.

But I do not think our aim is to have a President for life,nor is it what I would want.

Sooner rather than later, this office will be transferred from one person to another in a manner that will serve a purpose, not merely set an example, whetherfor ourselves or others.

That is why we need to remain fully engaged on Rwanda’s journey of transformation.

After all, the conditions for maintaining political stability are actually the same as those needed to build the prosperity that we can already see on the horizon.

Rwandans are optimistic about the future and have confidence in the direction chosen. This should reassure Rwanda’s friends and partners as well.

Even misguided or deliberately harmful criticism can be the start of a conversation that leads to greater understanding on all sides.

What is important is that we respect each other.

If we stay the course,I have no doubt that we will reach our goals.

My family and I wish all Rwandans a Happy New Year.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw