President Kagame Calls for Successor from Within RPF Inkotanyi

In Kigali, on March 9, 2024, President Paul Kagame, also serving as the Chairman of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) Inkotanyi, addressed over 2,000 members during the party’s convention. The convention, which re-elected him as the party’s representative for the upcoming presidential elections in July 2024 with a 99.1% vote, served as a platform for a significant announcement. Kagame urged RPF Inkotanyi members to begin the search for his successor, emphasizing the importance of preparedness and self-initiative in this critical transition. Despite accepting to run for the upcoming election, he stressed that the responsibility of choosing his successor should not fall on him but on the party members.

Kagame highlighted the need for proactive leadership selection within RPF Inkotanyi, challenging members to look beyond his recommendations. This call to action aims at fostering a democratic culture within the party, ensuring that leadership transition is a collective effort rather than a top-down decision. Kagame expressed concern about potential challenges and the necessity for the next generation of leaders to embody resilience and innovation, especially as the older generation phases out of active political roles.

Reflecting on his tenure since 2010, Kagame shared his appreciation for the trust and support he has received, attributing his acceptance of leadership roles to the country’s historical context and the global challenges faced. He recounted a compelling story from a citizen in Rusizi, which underscored the deep-seated fear of regression and the desire for continued stability and progress under his leadership.

Moreover, Kagame addressed the skepticism and criticism from opposition groups and analysts, who argue that the democratic process within Rwanda and within the RPF itself is overshadowed by authoritarian practices, including the suppression of dissent and the pre-determined nature of electoral outcomes. These critiques highlight concerns about the space for genuine political competition and freedom of expression in Rwanda.

As Kagame prepares for the upcoming election, he emphasizes the importance of ensuring a robust succession plan within the RPF Inkotanyi. He acknowledges the challenges ahead but remains committed to facilitating a smooth transition that ensures the sustainability of the progress Rwanda has made under his leadership. This transition is not just about leadership but about ensuring the resilience and integrity of Rwanda’s political landscape.

President Kagame’s tenure, spanning over 24 years in office and 30 years of influential leadership in Rwanda, marks a critical juncture for the country. His call for a successor from within RPF Inkotanyi reflects a moment of reflection and anticipation for Rwanda’s future, underscoring the need for preparedness, inclusivity, and democratic principles in the leadership transition process.