From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Fri Dec 19 2008 - 14:16:33 EST
Kagame Urges Rwandans to Lower their Expectations about Foreign Aid
By Peter Clottey
19 December 2008
Rwanda's President Paul Kagame says it is about time Rwandans think about
coming up with their own solutions for resolving the country's problems
instead of depending on foreign aid. President Kagame urged Rwandans to work
hard to be self-reliant following a decision by the Netherlands to suspend
aid to Rwanda. In a recent press release the Dutch government said it was
suspending aid to Kigali after a widely contested UN report released last
week alleged that Rwanda was complicit in providing support to rebels loyal
to the Democratic Republic of Congo's renegade army general Laurent Nkunda.
But President Kagame's government dismissed the accusation as unfounded.
Meanwhile, Sweden has also suspended its support of Rwanda's budget, citing
the same UN report on the escalating Congo violence. Jean Bosco Gasasira is
the editor of the Umuvugizi Independent Newspaper. He tells reporter Peter
Clottey from the capital Kigali that Rwandans are shocked over the
suspension of aid to their country.
"What I can tell you is that this happened so shockingly, and so Rwandans
didn't expect it at all. But during the president's press conference and
during the national dialogue on Thursday, President Kagame called on
Rwandans to stand on their own and work hard without any foreign aid. He
told Rwandans that the situation they are in may worsen, but that Rwandans
should learn to work to develop the country without foreign aid. He added
that that they should not always expect foreign aid," Gasasira pointed out.
He said Rwanda's role in the escalation of violence in the DRC's restive
North Kivu province may have played a part in the Dutch suspension of aid to
"On the 15th of December, the Dutch government issued a press statement
explaining why it suspended its support to Rwanda's budget. According to
their minister of the Dutch development corporation in Rwanda, Rwanda had an
upper hand in both financial and logistical support to the renegade army
General Laurent Nkunda, and was giving him arms despite the United Nations
embargo," he said.
Gasasira said Kigali sharply denies providing support for the Congolese
"President Paul Kagame on Thursday denied the accusation saying that neither
his government nor himself has ever communicated with the renegade army
general Nkunda. He also denies having any role to play in the ongoing
clashes between the Congolese national army and the rebels. But President
Kagame accused some European countries of being behind the conflict in the
DRC, saying that some of them have been supporting the FDLR (Democratic
Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) and not doing anything to stop the
conflict," Gasasira noted.
He said President Kagame is seeking advice from Rwandans about how to move
the country forward after both Sweden and the Netherlands suspended aid.
"After the Netherlands and the Swedish governments' suspended aid to
Rwanda's budget, President Kagame called Rwandans into the national dialogue
which is taking place and would continue today. He called on all government
leaders and people in the private sector to study to find ways of advising
him as to how the government can be driven to move forward without foreign
support and also come up with ways and means how Rwanda would continue
developing without foreign aid," he said.
President Kagame accused the donors of using the controversial reports that
are published for their convenience, adding that before they cut the aid,
they first influence the reports to form a basis for their withdrawal of the
aid. He gave an example of a similar report that said that officers in the
UN Mission in DRC (MONUC) were involved in raping and exchanging arms for
Kagame also condemned the international community for what he described as
its complacency in dealing with the genocidal forces grouped under the
Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), who he said freely
move out of their countries to the DRC where they have bases.
A UN report of experts released findings last week that accused Rwanda of
working with the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP),
which is led by General Nkunda.
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