Rwandan President Paul Kagame said on Tuesday he is looking forward to retiring after 23 years in power.Kagame told journalists during a joint conference with his Kenyan counterpart William Ruto, who is on a two-day State visit, that his Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) party has been discussing a succession plan for the last thirteen years.
“It is an inevitability that we have to find, [and] grow leaders and not for me to decide who is going to be the next leader after me, but create an environment that will give rise to people who can lead irrespective of whether I like them or not,” he said.
The 65-year-old has been at the helm of the East African state since 2000.
However, Kagame said he is not necessarily interested in choosing a successor: “In good governance, you don’t want the person exiting being the one deciding who comes after him.”
And while “circumstances, challenges and history of Rwanda tend to dictate certain things that may not be common with other situations”, the Rwandan leader said, his retirement is an issue that has to be discussed “sooner or later”.
“I’m sure one day I may join journalism in my old age… I’m looking forward to that,” he added.
RPF, which Kagame has led since 1998, last week elected a new vice chairperson, a woman called Consolée Uwimana.
In 2015, Rwanda voted to extend the presidential term limit from two seven-year terms.
This means that Kagame, who before then could not run for office in 2017 but is now serving his third term, still has the provision of serving two possible five-year terms until 2034.
And while he has previously said he has no problem retiring to become an ordinary senior citizen, Kagame said in a France 24 interview in July last year that he might contest for the presidency again in 2024.
“I would consider running for another 20 years. I have no problem with that. Elections are about people choosing,” he told the French television station at the time.