Rwandan President Paul Kagame has declared he will run for a third term in office after his second seven-year term expires in 2017.

The announcement in his end-of-year message Saturday follows last month's constitutional referendum in which 98.3 percent of Rwandans voted to approve the country's revised Constitution to allow Kagame to run again after his term ends. The move has been opposed by the U.S.

Kagame became president in 2000 after being Rwanda's de facto leader since the end of the country's genocide in 1994. He is credited with stabilizing the country and promoting economic growth after the mass killings, but critics say he is an authoritarian ruler who does not tolerate opposition and he is accused of human rights abuses.