KIGALI – Rwandan President Paul Kagame has announced his plans to retire from office after 23 years in power.
The President made the statement during a joint press briefing with Kenyan President William Ruto in the Rwandan capital, Kigali.
According to Kagame, the ruling party is actively discussing a succession plan, and his retirement is inevitable.
He further stated that he is not necessarily interested in choosing his successor but rather creating an environment that would give rise to people who can lead.
“We have been having this discussion within our [ruling] party since 2010 but circumstances, challenges, and history of Rwanda tend to dictate certain things,” he said.
“I’m sure one day I may join journalism in my old age. I’m looking forward to that.”
President Kagame has been in power since 2000 and has led the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF-Inkotanyi) since 1998.
He was re-elected as the party’s chairman, while the party elected its first woman vice-chairperson.
Kagame previous hypocrisy
In December 2022, Kagame had previously expressed his desire to become an ordinary senior citizen, stating that he had no problem stepping down from power.
The President’s announcement comes just a year after he told a French TV channel that he would stand for president again at the next election in 2024.
A controversial referendum in 2015 removed a two-term constitutional limit for presidents.
“I’m not interested in continuing to stay in power just for the sake of it,” said Kagame.
“I’m interested in seeing that our country is moving forward and that the next generation is taking over from us.”
The President’s announcement has been met with mixed reactions, with some applauding his decision to step down and others expressing concern over the lack of a clear succession plan.
“We need a peaceful and transparent process that ensures the stability of Rwanda and its people,” said political analyst, Peter Kagwanja.
“We must ensure that the transition of power is handled in a way that is peaceful and reflects the will of the people.”
President Kagame has assured the nation that he will continue to work towards a smooth and peaceful transition of power, stating that the issue of his retirement is one that has to be discussed “sooner or later.”