The ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front party this week said it is the will of the people to change the constitution so President Paul Kagame can seek a third term in office, VOANews reports.
In early April, Kagame, 57, said he disagreed with initiatives to amend the constitution. He has not said if he will support the move.
About 3.6 million of Rwanda’s 11.8 million people signed a petition asking the Rwandan parliament to change the constitution so Kagame can serve a third term. Critics say people who signed were forced to do so by officials.
The 3.6 million people who signed the petition represent around 72 percent of those on the Rwandan electoral roll, InternationalBusinessTimes reports.
Third-term bids by African presidents represent one of the major threats to stability on the continent, according to the Institute For Security Studies.
U.K.-based human rights activist and politician Rene Claudel Mugenzi told IBTimesUK the Rwandan government forced people to sign the petition to avoid international criticism.
“The Rwandan government does not want to be seen as a dictator government, but on the same side they want to change the constitution and they want to make it as the change is driven by the people, but the reality is that this is a set-up,” Mugenzi said.