Last week had some really good news for Rwanda. First, the Agaciro Development Fund contributions hit above Frw 13 billion and the World Economic Forum ranked Rwanda third most competitive economy on the continent, after Mauritius and South Africa.
Also, the UK made a U-turn. Having announced last month that it would block over US$25 million in budget support, the UK has now announced that $12 million will be released in due course.
In a statement released by the British High commission, Andrew Mitchell, the UK’s outgoing international development minister, said, “in recognizing the progress made by Rwanda to continuously demonstrate strong commitment to reducing poverty and improving its financial management, Britain will partially restore its general budget support.”
Rwanda’s financial managerial reputation has never been on the spot but rather praised by donors, including Britain, for being ‘model partners’ not only in the region but also on the continent.
In an attempt to clarify this, Mitchell said the decision to release only $12 million of the $25 million in blocked aid reflects the UK’s continued concerns about Kigali’s alleged backing for the M23 rebels.
Ben Llewellyn-Jones, the British High commissioner to Kigali, when asked for a reaction referred us to London for a comment.
An official in the foreign affairs ministry who offered his opinion off record said, “I think these guys know they are backing the wrong horse and are now tactfully laying strategies of joining the winning side but egos are still big.”
“It’s known, the West will never admit fault and even on this matter, I doubt they will despite the evidence,” added the official.
As soon as UK announced its U-turn, Kinshasa declared its anger through Lambert Mende, the government spokesman who has now earned celebrity status for his emotional attacks against Rwanda on international media.
“We do not share their (UK’s) analysis [of the situation]… This will not help to resolve the problems in the region. We’ll speak to express how extremely dangerous we think their decision is,” Mende said.
Even though the current hullabaloo finally settles, one problem Rwanda will have to continue dealing with is a hostile, unreliable and dishonest government in Kinshasa.
Two weeks ago, Raymond Tshibanda, Congo’s Foreign Affairs Minister who met with members of the UN Security Council and the body’s sanctions committee, called for sanctions against Rwanda’s Defense Minister James Kaberebe; chief of defense staff Charles Kayonga; and General Jacques Nziza, a military adviser to President Paul Kagame, accusing them of allegedly being ‘in constant contact’ with M23.
Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo. (file photo)
In the mix of events, Rwanda withdrew more than 300 of its troops operating in the Eastern Congo, who had been fighting covert missions alongside Congolese troops, saying ‘the situation on the ground made their continued presence impossible.’
Speaking during an interview with France 24 TV, on Thursday last week, Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo advised Kinshasa to own and act upon their problems, or they will never end.
“DRC has to drop this tendency of playing the victim every time they are confronted with a situation. Nothing is ever their responsibility whenever there is trouble, they always get someone to blame, if it’s not Rwanda, its Congo-Brazzaville, if not them, it’s the Ugandans or Angolans,” the minister stated.
That about sums it up: the storm is not over for Rwanda until DRC drops the blame game.