Raila Odinga criticises Paul Kagame, Yoweri Museveni over term limits

Thursday September 03 2015

Kenya's Opposition leader Raila Odinga. PHOTO | FILE

Kenya’s Opposition leader Raila Odinga has asked Rwandan President Paul Kagame and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni not to extend their stay in power and allow other people to lead instead.

Mr Odinga criticised them for clinging to power, saying it was not right to change the law to suit individuals. 

He said democracy in Africa had been ruined by few selfish leaders who wanted to rule for life.

Speaking at Strathmore University in Nairobi, where he gave a public lecture titled And Live Accordingly’, the former prime minister asked the two leaders and their Burundi counterpart Pierre Nkurunziza to allow democracy to thrive in their countries by quitting office at the end of their term limits.

Uganda is readying for national elections in 2016 and President Museveni is expected to run despite ruling for the last 30 years. Uganda introduced term limits in 1996 but in 2005 scrapped them.

“He (Museveni) led the push to change that to remove the limits and today he has served for 30 years and next year he is a presidential candidate.


“He is saying that he wants a last term to construct the railway. If you have not done that in 30 years you cannot do it in the next five years,” said Mr Odinga who has indicated that he would seek Kenya’s presidency for the fourth time in 2017 after failing in past three attempts.

Rwanda is seeking to scrap term limits through a constitutional review, in a move seen to hand President Paul Kagame a third term in office in 2017.

Though Kagame is yet to declare his candidature, the push has gained momentum after Parliament passed a Bill establishing an independent commission to oversee the review of the country’s Constitution, and determine which articles must be amended amid calls to remove presidential term limits.

READ: Kagame to appoint constitution review body

“Kagame is a protégé of Museveni and he has learnt very well from him. He is leading a campaign that says nobody else can hold Rwanda together, that Rwanda situation is unique and therefore should stay in office.

“Those people will always have those arguments. President Obama told them that if you have not been able to mentor a successor for that period of time then the mistake is yours not the people,” Mr Odinga said.

READ: Obama speaks out against extended presidential term limits