Rwanda’s top court clears way for Kagame third term
Rwanda’s Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that President Paul Kagame could run for a third seven-year term, rejecting an attempt by the main opposition party to block changes to the country’s constitution.
In the latest instance of an African leader seeking to extend his days in power, the Kagame-controlled parliament backed a motion in July to let him run again as leader of the east African state.
The constitutional changes must pass a referendum although there is little chance of them failing due to Kagame’s control over the media and many aspects of public life, as well as his popularity as a nation-builder after a 1994 genocide.
“All depends on the opinions of the people,” the Supreme Court said in its ruling.
The opposition Democratic Green Party, which brought the case before the Supreme Court, said it would continue to push for protection of existing constitutional term limits, a hot topic in Africa after similar moves by regional leaders.
“We are not happy but we’ve not given up. We are going to appeal to the president,” Green party leader Frank Habineza told Reuters after the decision.
Kagame has not said explicitly that he wants to run again but has made clear he is open to persuasion. A Brazilian audit court has ruled that President Dilma Rousseff broke the law in managing last year’s budget.
The government was accused of borrowing money illegally from state banks to make up for budget shortfalls.
The opposition says the ruling by the Federal Accounts Court - which reports to Congress - paves the way for impeachment proceedings against Ms Rousseff.
She was re-elected less than a year ago but has record low popularity ratings.
The Brazilian government says it would challenge Wednesday’s ruling in the Supreme Court.
“The game is not over,” said Attorney General Luis Adams.
The minister who handled the case in the Accounts Court, Augusto Nardes, said the government disregarded fiscal and constitutional principles in the handling of the 2014 accounts.
Ms Rousseff’s government raised spending “without fiscal sustainability and without the required transparency”, said Mr Nardes.
The irregularities amount to more than $26bn, the court said.
Gen Gilbert Diendere admitted the coup was a mistake