Rwandan President Paul Kagame says he will run for a fourth term in 2024 — a move that could extend his hold on power to nearly three decades.
Kagame confirmed his intentions in an interview with Jeune Afrique, a French magazine on Tuesday.
The president who began governing the East African country in 2000, is eligible to continue in office for another decade after a constitutional amendment in 2015 changed term limits that would have forced him to step down two years later.
Speaking with the French magazine, Kagame said he would serve as president as long as he can.
“I am happy with the confidence that Rwandans have in me,” he said.
“I will always serve them, as much when I can. Yes, I am indeed a candidate.”
Although Kagame has gathered international acclaim for presiding over peace and economic growth since the end of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, he has also faced criticism from rights groups.
He is accused of cracking down on the opposition and shushing independent media.
The president said he was not bothered about what foreign countries would think of his decision to run again.
“Personally, I no longer know what corresponds to Western values,” he said.
“What is democracy? The West dictating to others what they should do? But if they violate their own principles, how do we listen to them?”
“Seeking to transplant democracy to someone else is already a violation of democracy in itself.
“People are supposed to be independent and should be allowed to organise themselves as they wish.”
Shortly after the Gabon coup last month, Kagame reshuffled his military to solidify his power hold.
Meetings between Rwanda’s chief of defence staff, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ambassador to Rwanda, and the defence attaché of Cameroon were also held to discuss ways “to enhance defence cooperation between their respective countries”.