European Union Echoes US Position Urging President Kagame to Step Down in 2017

EU High Representative Mogherini at DEVE Conference

  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

"However, the adoption of provisions that can apply only to one individual weakens the credibility of the constitutional reform process as it undermines the principle of democratic change of government enshrined in Article 23 of the African Charter of Democracy, Elections and Governance. The amendments to the Rwandan constitution recently approved by Parliament - if confirmed by referendum - would give rise to this situation, " the  European Union High Representative Federica Mogherini said in a press release published on December 3, 2015, on behalf of the EU on constitutional review in Rwanda

The statement by EU High Representative Federica Mogherini comes just a day after the US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power made strong  statements urging Rwandan dictator General Paul Kagame to stop constitution maneuvers and step down in 2017. 

Like US Ambassador Samantha Power, Federica Mogherini  was reacting to the decision by the Rwandan Senate, composed mostly by Paul Kagame's stooges, to allow a constitutional change lifting term limits. The change would allow Paul Kagame to run for a forbidden  third and fourth term after a 7-year transition, and hence to remain in power for the next 17 years.  

Following the Rwandan Senate vote, the U.S. State Department in Washington, had expressed "great concern" and  renewed its calls for General Paul  Kagame to  step down at the end of his term in 2017 (see our article):

The now growing worldwide condemnation further isolates General Paul Kagame and may see him lose the already shrinking support to his dictatorship.  

 Dictatorships, a source of instability, EU concludes.

Concluding that democratic changes lead better and stable institutions, the EU appears to confirm what many observers have highlighted (see here)

 "The EU strongly supports the principle of democratic transitions, based on transparent, inclusive and accountable processes as laid down in the African Charter.  In countries that have consistently respected term limits and allowed for change, societies have become more resilient and institutions more credible.  There are many examples for that on the continent" , the EU statement continued (see entire statement here).

The question now is about what General Paul Kagame, more and more isolated, would do next. After the statement by US Ambassador Samantha Power, he had rushed to demean the position by the US Government and accused US officials of interference in Rwandan internal affairs. Yet, he, himself, had been making similar observations when Burundian dictator, Pierre Nkurunziza,  his neighbor to the South,  decided to run for a third term, not allowed by the Burundian constitution.  Since then, Burundi is now in the middle of  bloody civil uprising.