Rwandan clerics and other local citizenry Monday petitioned Parliament asking lawmakers to amend the constitution to allow President Kagame to run for third term in 2017.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame (C), participates in ?Walk-to-Remember? during the 18th Genocide Commemoration in Kigali, capital of Rwanda , April 7, 2012. On every Genocide Commemoration, the President participates in the ?Walk-to-Remember?, organised in the afternoon from the Rwandan Parliament to the National Stadium. The theme of this year?s anniversary is: "Learning from our history to build a bright future". (Xinhua/Cyril Ndegeya) (cl)
Rwandan President Paul Kagame (C), participates in ?Walk-to-Remember? during the 18th Genocide Commemoration in Kigali, capital of Rwanda , April 7, 2012. On every Genocide Commemoration, the President participates in the ?Walk-to-Remember?, organised in the afternoon from the Rwandan Parliament to the National Stadium. The theme of this year?s anniversary is: “Learning from our history to build a bright future”. (Xinhua/Cyril Ndegeya) (cl)

The clerics are grouped under a Forum for 40 Churches. Led by Bishop Innocent Nizeyimana, the head of the Forum for Churches operating in Nyarugenge District, the group said they had realized that Kagame contributed immensely to current country’s development in various spheres, including security, development and unity.
They therefore recognized the need to grant him another term.
The petition signed by 40 clerics was delivered to Parliament by several members of the forum led by Bishop Innocent Nizeyimana.
The bishop said making Rwanda what it is today was out of combined effort and they have the moral obligation to protect those achievements.
We want President Kagame to remain in office; we still believe he has the potential to steer Rwanda to more heights than it is today, he said.
The clerics called on lawmakers to amend Article 101 of the Constitution which restricts the President to two seven-year terms.
For this to happen there must be a referendum.
The Constitution gives citizens powers to demand for a referendum on lifting of term limits.
Meanwhile, on the same day residents of Rubavu district in western Rwanda also petitioned Parliament over term limits.
Musa Mustafa Musabyimana, who claimed to represent the residents, said he had carried petitions from 4,370 residents of Busasamana.
He cited poverty eradication, education and health among the reasons why they believe Kagame deserved another term.
The groups later proceeded to the President’s office to deliver letter requesting President Kagame to consider their plea to run for another term after the term limits are lifted.
The Speaker of Rwandan Parliament, Donatille Mukabalisa said legislators would look into petitions.
“We have received very many petitions and we decided to put this on the agenda of the Parliament in the next session that begins on June 5,” she said.
Rwanda’s constitution prevents Kagame from running in 2017 presidential elections.
Kagame, 57, is serving his second term of seven years, the maximum allowed by law.
The citizen petitions come as demonstrations enter a second week in neighboring Burundi, against President Pierre Nkuruziza’s re-election bid.
Kagame has previously said Rwanda’s constitution shouldn’t be changed to modify how long a president can serve, saying he belongs to the group that doesn’t support change of the constitution.
But he argues that in a democratic society, debates are allowed and they are healthy. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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