Constitutional Reform Commission
Department Spokesperson Washington, DC
September 4, 2015
The United States notes with concern the decision by Rwanda’s Parliament and President Paul Kagame to establish a Constitutional Reform Commission that may amend or remove executive term limits and permit President Kagame to seek a third term in 2017.
We respect the ability of any parliament to pass legislation that reflects the will of the people it is elected to represent; however, we continue to firmly support the principle of democratic transition of power in all countries through free, fair, and credible elections, held in accordance with constitutions, including provisions regarding term limits. We do not support those in positions of power changing constitutions solely for their political self-interest.
As President Obama has stated, “When a leader tries to change the rules in the middle of the game just to stay in office, it risks instability and strife – as we’ve seen in Burundi. And this is often just a first step down a perilous path.”
President Kagame has repeatedly stated his commitment to respecting constitutional term limits and to mentoring a generation of leaders able to sustain Rwanda’s remarkable economic growth and stability. The United States underscores the importance of these commitments.