Rwandan President Paul Kagame has said for the first time that he plans to run for a fourth term in elections due to be held next year.
According to the BBC, He said “Yes, I am indeed a candidate,” Kagame, who has ruled over the country with an iron fist for decades, told Jeune Afrique, a French-language news magazine, in an interview published online on Tuesday.
“I am pleased with the confidence that Rwandans have placed in me. I will always serve them, as long as I can,” the 65-year-old was quoted as saying.
The Rwandan government in March decided to synchronise the dates for its parliamentary and presidential elections, which are due to be held in August next year.
“I am happy with the confidence that the Rwandans have in me. I will always serve them, as much as I can.”
Mr Kagame had in April said he was looking forward to retiring and handing over power after 23 years in office.
The country’s ruling party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF-Inkotanyi), retained Mr Kagame as its chairman in April. He has led the party since 1998.
Mr Kagame has been president of the East African nation since 2000. A controversial referendum in 2015 removed a two-term constitutional limit for presidents.
He won the last election in 2017 with 98.8% of the vote.
Rwanda under President Kagame has enjoyed relative political stability but critics and human rights groups accuse his government of limiting political freedoms and suppressing dissent.