David Cameron had to cut short his five-day tour of Africa due to the ongoing and constantly evolving “phone-hacking” crisis in the UK. Rwanda was going to be one of his stops along the way, and that is significant even if he will not be coming to Rwanda now.
Rwanda holds a special position in the making of David Cameron as a leader, his Conservative party had a reputation as a “Nasty Party” as Theresa May MP once said.
When I lived in UK, it had a reputation of being an old white racist men’s party. They objected to immigration even for skilled workers, they obstructed women’s rights and were out of touch with most of society.
David Cameron visited our country just after he was elected as party leader, some thought it was just a photo opportunity but it was more. He needed the Tory party to look beyond its narrow base, to become global citizens and play their part.
The last time he was in Rwanda his home town of Wantage was deluged in floods but he kept to his purpose, a team of over one hundred Tory MP’s came to Rwanda to work with the “Umubano” project and it changed the party’s global perspective.
In recent months, there have been calls by Rwandan fugitives and their supporters for David Cameron to distance himself from Rwanda. As enemies have failed to destabilise Rwanda from within, they shifted the focus towards outside and trying to harm relations with our allies.
Certain human rights campaigners have also called for the British government to cut its aid budget to Rwanda despite it being agreed that Rwanda is one of the most efficient users of aid.
Cameron is wise to see the wider picture, when campaigners call for the British government to cut its aid budget, they forget that little children will die.
When a nation reduces child mortality in half thanks partly to foreign assistance, when that assistance goes, then children die. It is always liberals who call for this type of action without thinking that real people get hurt, real people die, and the objectives they want will not be met.
If a nation is helping its people and they benefit equitably, then why punish innocents because you don’t like the leadership? I have never understood how higher child mortality builds democracy.
Cameron would have pointed to the tremendous progress seen under Paul Kagame.
His arrival would have shown that relations between the two nations are strong and recent events will not change the true impression of Rwanda built over 17 years since 1994. We should never forget our friends, especially those who are loyal but honest, who always see our true potential.
Indeed one hundred members of David Cameron’s Conservative Party are here to demonstrate that friendship.