From Tom Garba,Yola
The Rwanda Ambassador to Nigeria, Stanislas Kamanzi, has said the criticism which has characterised tenure elongation in other African Countries like Burundi and Burkina Faso should not be brought to bear on the Rwandan Referendum which will allow President Paul Kagame seek another term when his current tenure expires next year.
Stanislas, who spoke at American University of Nigeria, AUN Distinguished Diploma Lecture Series, a platform launched in 2006 by the institution to deepen knowledge and understanding of the international community from the perspective of foreign diplomats, linked the tenure elongation being propounded in his country to the good policies and programmes of the Paul Kagame administration.
He said it would be unfair to compare the developments in Burundi, Burkina Faso and Zimbabwe where their leaders are at the centre of propagating their stay in office to what has happened in Rwanda.
He urged the African community not to go into doom and gloom kind of thinking over the Rwandan tenure elongation Referendum, stressing that “Paul Kagame is not here to stay like the other sit-tight leaders.”
“It is unfair to compare what happened in Burundi and Zimbabwe to Rwanda. To compare what happened in this countries to Rwanda is like comparing Apples and oranges. Don’t worry he is not here to stay, so let’s not worry and go into this doom and gloom kind of thinking,” Kamanzi said.
According to him the tenure elongation of Paul Kagame’s Presidency clearly obviates from the processes which have characterised the clamour for tenure elongation in other African countries.
In the case of Paul Kagame, he noted, unlike other African leaders who wanted to perpetuate themselves in office, Kagame never took any step to influence or lobby anybody to elongate his stay in power, adding that it was the people who had clamoured for him to continue.
He stressed that 98% of voters in the referendum who okayed the lifting of the term limit somehow reflected the 4 million letters written by individual citizens requesting the parliament to okay a referendum to amend the constitutional term limit.
He also pointed out that the Rwanda tenure elongation happened as a result of the good policies taken by the Kagame regime, noting that it is not about the president.
Stanislas also explained how Rwanda came out of the ashes of the 1994 genocide to become one of the fastest growing middle income country on the continent, saying immediately after the 1994 genocide the country was tipped to be a failed nation. However, an adaptation of some communal values to governance as well as a 20-year development plan ensured that the country pulled itself out of the brink.
He also maintained that one of the pivotal policies of the government critical to its success after the genocide was the decision to do away with hands outs from donor agencies and western nations.