27 February 2013

Rwanda: President Kagame Answers Pertinent Questions About Third Term, DRC, ICTR and Other Topics During Monthly Press Conference

President Kagame answers pertinent questions about third term, DRC, ICTR and other topics during monthly press conference

President Paul Kagame met local, regional and international press for the monthly press conference at Urugwiro Village answering their questions on a wide range of topics.

The first question asked was whether the President would run for a third term therefore amending the constitution. To that, President Kagame responded that the debate had begun long before he even started his second term.

His desire was that the discussion be put in perspective so as to avoid distraction. "We should remember that this is about the future of Rwanda. In the end the people of Rwanda will decide." He again brought up the key elements to an appropriate response: change, continuity and stability.

In the question of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the President emphasised that he could not speak for the DRC but being neighbours meant that what happened in the DRC affects Rwandan and vice versa. President Kagame reiterated Rwanda's desire for peace in the region.

On infighting within M23, the President said that he did not follow the goings on of M23. Instead, he followed closely the FDLR who committed genocide in Rwanda and were continuing to commit the worst atrocities in the DRC.

When asked what the government was doing to host the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda's (ICTR) archives, the President indicated that Rwanda had expressed keen interest in hosting the archives. He said that the government would continue to push for this to happen.

He also commented on the trend within the international justice system of perpetrators becoming victims and vice versa. He pointed out that perpetrators of genocide lived comfortably, evading justice or when captured and tried, were released. He called on all Rwandans to remain vigilant and speak up.

On the matter of opposition parties, President Kagame indicated that everyone is free to start an opposition party in Rwanda. He discussed the relevance of having hundreds of political parties when model democracies have only about three opposition parties. "In Africa, we see the evidence of having hundreds of political parties. What good has this done?"

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