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Published 20th March 2015

Vol 56 No 6


Rwanda

No room at the top

RWANDA Kigali: President Paul Kagame in his office in Kigali. Sven Torfinn / Panos
RWANDA Kigali: President Paul Kagame in his office in Kigali. Sven Torfinn / Panos

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

The ruling party is priming the public for a change in the law to allow President Paul Kagame a third term

The campaign is now in full swing to amend the constitution to allow President Paul Kagame to stand for a third term. Pro-government media are running opinion pieces almost daily praising his achievements and questioning the merits of limits on the term of office. With no real political opposition, little seems to stand in his way. Yet rumblings among the ruling elite suggest that all is not well in the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). Momentum has been building in the campaign for a third term for Kagame since just after the last presidential election in 2010, when the Minister of Internal Security, Sheikh Musa Fazil Harerimana, made the first public call to remove term limits. Harerimana belongs to the Parti démocrate idéal (PDI/Ishyaka Ntangarugero Muri Demokarasi), an Islamist party with a junior role in the ruling coalition. Many suspect that the promotion of the reform agenda by other political parties was intended to deflect criticism that the President was meddling with the constitution.

READ FOR FREE

Lake murder mystery

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Reports in August that dozens of bodies had been found floating in Lake Rweru on the Rwandan-Burundian border made international headlines and drew condemnation from foreign donors...


Presiding without policy

Freed of the burden of trial at the ICC, Kenyatta can get on with the business of government. Yet few can discern any strategy

Kenyans who have been wondering what President Uhuru Kenyatta's priorities for the country will be, now that he is no longer handicapped by charges at the International Criminal Co...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Three issues – corruption, jobs and security – have dominated campaigning in what promises to be Nigeria’s closest ever presidential election, on 28 March. All three put President Goodluck Jonathan’s government on the back foot as it faced a resurgent national opposition under former military head of state General Muhammadu Buhari.

The six-week delay i...

Three issues – corruption, jobs and security – have dominated campaigning in what promises to be Nigeria’s closest ever presidential election, on 28 March. All three put President Goodluck Jonathan’s government on the back foot as it faced a resurgent national opposition under former military head of state General Muhammadu Buhari.

The six-week delay in the elections, announced on 7 February, has certainly helped Jonathan. The government claimed that by 17 March its armed forces, aided by Chad and Cameroon, had pushed Boko Haram out of 17 of the 20 local government areas in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states that it controlled at the beginning of the year. Although the fightback has bolstered the government’s military credibility, it is still exposed on jobs and corruption.

Voters across the country – not just in the opposition’s northern heartlands – take seriously claims by the former central bank governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi that about US$1 billion a month in oil revenues were not reaching government coffers. Worse for Jonathan, many are attributing fuel shortages, rising unemployment and power cuts to those claimed diversions. That’s why Buhari and the opposition All Progressives Congress have rallied supporters with promises of 'positive change' and a crackdown on malfeasance. Yet the government's ability to spring surprises – such as the recent military turnaround – means the two candidates are going neck and neck into the final straight.

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Muzito's Waterloo

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