Rwandans voted on Friday in a referendum on changing the constitution that would allow President Paul Kagame to extend his term in office, possibly until 2034, despite criticism of such an amendment by the United States and other Western donors. Kagame would be able to run again after his second mandate ends under the changes, which are expected to pass. Kagame, 58, has been president since 2000 but effectively in control since his rebel force marched into Kigali in 1994 to end a genocide.
The United States, a major donor that has praised Kagame for rebuilding the nation since the genocide, said this month Kagame should resist the lure of power and step down in 2017 to allow a new generation of leaders to come through.
It is the latest case of a long-serving ruler in Africa seeking to extend his hold on power. Similar moves have already sparked violence and instability in Burundi and Congo Republic. So far there has been no unrest in Rwanda.