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Raila now attacks Kagame over bid for third term

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has asked Rwandan President Paul Kagame not to extend his stay in power

Mr Odinga instead wants the Rwandan president to allow for a fresher pair of hands to run the country that was ravaged by a genocide 20 years ago.

He made the plea to President Kagame on Thursday at Strathmore University where he delivered a public lecture.

Cord leader Raila odinga with students at Strathmore University on September 3, 2015.
Cord leader Raila odinga with students at Strathmore University on September 3, 2015.

President Kagame, 57, has been at the helm of Rwandan politics since 1994, when an offensive by his RPF ethnic Tutsi rebel force put an end to a genocide by Hutu extremists that left an estimated 800,000, mostly Tutsis and moderate Hutus dead.

The Rwandan constitution, which was adopted in 2003, limits the number of presidential terms to two, and therefore bars Kagame – who was elected first in 2003 and again in 2010 – to stand for a third term.

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga after the lecture at Strathmore University.
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga after the lecture at Strathmore University.

But Rwandan government officials said parliament would soon debate a change to the constitution in response to what they have described as “popular demand” for the strongman and former rebel leader to stay.

Mr Odinga also hit out at Ugandan President Museveni for amending the constitution to remove term limits.