Rwanda opposition unable to find lawyer

2015-07-08 20:01
Rwandan president Paul Kagame

Rwandan president Paul Kagame

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Kigali - Rwanda's Green Party, the country's tiny but main opposition, complained on Wednesday it was having trouble finding a lawyer to handle its challenge to moves to allow President Paul Kagame stand for a third term.

The Rwandan constitution, which was adopted in 2003, limits the number of presidential terms to two, and therefore bars Kagame - who was elected first in 2003 and again in 2010 - to stand for a third term.

But officials last month said parliament would soon debate a change to the constitution in response to what Kagame's aides have described as "popular demand" for the strongman and former rebel leader to stay.

The Green Party has vowed to challenge this in court, but said it was being hampered by the reluctance of lawyers to take up the case.

"Five lawyers have refused to take the case. One said he was threatened, another said God was against it, others said they were afraid or did not want to go to court against millions of Rwandans," party president Frank Habineza told AFP.

Habineza said the challenge centred on the Green Party's belief that the constitution can only be revised to "reduce or prolong the duration of the president's mandate."

Kagame, 57, has been at the helm since 1994, when an offensive by his ethnic Tutsi rebel force, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), put an end to a genocide by Hutu extremists in which an estimated 800 000 people were massacred, the vast majority of them Tutsis.

He first served as defence minister and vice president, and then took the presidency by winning 95% of the vote. He was re-elected with a similarly resounding mandate.

Rwandan officials have strongly denied that it is Kagame who is angling for a third term, insisting that the president - hailed by his supporters as a guarantor of post-genocide security and stability, as well as a champion of economic development - enjoys popular support for him to stay.

Read more on:    paul kagame  |  rwanda  |  east africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.