The Liberal Party (commonly known by its French acronym, PL) political party on Saturday issued a press statement calling for a review of the constitution to allow President Kagame to run for another term as president.
According to their statement, the PL political bureau held an extraordinary meeting in Kigali on Friday which was meant to reflect on the wish of party members as regards a potential amendment of the 2003 constitution.
Members of PL requested that article 101 of the constitution which stipulates the number of terms a president can run, be amended. The party faithful also, as noted, requested that their request be taken to the parliament so that the latter can start a process to amend the constitution as required under article 193 of the constitution.
The Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Donatila Mukabalisa, who also doubles as PL first vice president signed the press statement.
Jean-Bosco Sibobugingo, the PL Executive Secretary, told this paper that: “Leadership is and must always be in the hands of the people and we consider that the constitution allows Rwandan people to decide what they want.”
Sibobugingo said his party is citing Article 2 of the Constitution which states that all the power derives from the people.
The PL and hundreds other individual Rwandans are using the two clauses as basis for petitioning Parliament to amend the Constitution.
The political party’s stand adds to thousands of other petitions by Rwandans from all walks of life who have in the past months been going to parliament with numerous boxes packed with handwritten and signed letters requesting lawmakers to endorse their request for a referendum that would pave way for a constitutional amendment that would allow President Paul Kagame to stand in the next election.
Currently, a Rwandan president is restricted to two, seven-year mandates.
On Thursday, representatives of over 250,000 youths across the country walked into Parliament and urged lawmakers to call for a referendum to allow the amendment of Article 101 of the Constitution, which restricts a head of state to a maximum of two seven-year terms in office.
About three million Rwandans are reported to have already filed similar petitions to the House.
Article 193 regarding procedures for constitutional amendment partly stipulates that if the constitutional amendment concerns the term of the President of the Republic or the system of democratic government based on political pluralism, or the constitutional regime established by this Constitution, especially the republican form of the government or national sovereignty, the amendment must be passed by referendum, after adoption by each Chamber of Parliament.
Parliament is now in recess but is expected to return for business on June 5, with the rising petitions one of the key items up for debate.