President Paul Kagame has confirmed for the first time that next year he will seek re-election to continue serving the citizens of Rwanda as long as they want him to.
In an interview with Jeune Afrique‘s François Soudan published on September 19, President Kagame said that he would not be bothered by the opinion of outsiders, as long as Rwandans want him to stay and serve them. It is the first time he has categorically stated that he might run in next year’s Presidential Elections scheduled for August.
Soudan asked President Kagame’s if his re-election as the chairperson of the ruling Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF-Inkotanyi) with 99.8 percent in April this year confirms that he will be the party’s candidate next year and he answered in affirmative.
“You just said that it was obvious to public opinion. So that’s the case. I am happy with the confidence that Rwandans have in me. I will always serve them, as much I can and when I can. Yes, I am indeed a candidate,” President Kagame said.
President Kagame was asked if his seeking of re-election next year won’t draw criticism for him especially from Western countries, on grounds of him maintaining power for more than 20 years, something which doesn’t correspond well with their standards of political correctness and he said that he is not bothered by what other people think.
“Sorry to the West, but what these countries think is not our problem. Personally, I no longer know what corresponds to
Western values. What is democracy ? The West dictating to others what they should do? But if they violate their own
principles, how do we listen to them?” President Kagame said.
“Seeking to transplant democracy to someone else is already a violation of democracy in itself. People are supposed to be independent and should be allowed to organize themselves as they wish,” President Kagame said.
The Head of State spoke about a wide range of issues including the situation with Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and other countries in the region as well matters of continental and global importance.
Relations with DRC
President Kagame also used the opportunity to speak about the relationship between Rwanda and DRC, pointing out that the problem is not between him and President Felix Antoine Tshisekedi but rather the problem is between Tshisekedi and M23.
Asked about a recent report of the United Nations Group of Experts which accuses Rwanda of backing M23 rebels, President Kagame questioned the intentions of the said experts saying that most of their findings do not correspond to the facts as we know them.
The Head of State said that DRC’s problem is neither Rwanda nor M23 but rather issues that have historically led to conflict in the Eastern part of the country which the DRC government has failed to address.
President Kagame said the report mentions almost nothing on the history of the problems of the Congo, the responsibility of Congolese institutions, on the crimes committed by the DRC Government forces FARDC.
“This has been going on for more than twenty years, despite the presence of a UN mission which cost billions of dollars. Why are we not talking about the results of this mission? Are these questions of no interest?”
“If Rwanda is accused of what you just talked about, what could be the reason for its involvement [in the DRC]? Why are the experts silent about this, about the presence of the FDLR in this region for all these years? Why are they silent about the threat they [FDLR) represent for Rwanda and for the DRC itself?” President Kagame said.
“The Congolese government has openly brought together people who claim to be anti-Rwanda, who want to bring down the Rwandan government. The Congolese president receives them, but these experts do not talk about it,” President Kagame said.
The Head of State said that the experts only publish what is incriminating against Rwanda, such as its supposed support for the M23, and remain silent on the rest, particularly on the origin of the DRC problems.