• Expresses optimism on DRC talks
VILLAGE URUGWIRO - President Paul Kagame yesterday said that time has come for Rwandans to think differently on the aid they get from developed countries, urging them to work hard to come out of the reliance on foreign aid.
He was reacting on the recent decision by the Dutch government to withdraw their aid to Rwanda following the widely contested UN report released last week alleging that Rwanda was helping a Congolese rebel group.
“We do not need less aid to confirm the point I always make, I have repeatedly said that this aid has no formula, it just comes and goes ….we need to work really hard and out of this reliance on foreign aid,” said the President during a news conference at Urugwiro Village.
He said that the so called donors have used these reports that are published to their convenience, adding that before they cut the aid, they first influence the reports to form a basis for the withdrawal of their aid.
The UN report of experts which was released last week claims that Rwanda was working with the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) that is led by Gen Laurent Nkunda.
“There is another complexity surrounding this whole thing; they withdraw their aid under the pretext of their taxpayers who would not keep on financing us with such allegations like that report….but when it gets to a situation that suits them, the taxpayers will always understand,” Kagame said.
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 minerals.
“How come these taxpayers keep on financing, paying the one billion dollars to finance this kind of mission even after such allegations? What has this mission done anyway regarding what they are mandated to do?” he ironically asked.
MONUC, a 17,000-strong peacekeeping mission, is the biggest UN mission worldwide and recently a resolution was passed to increase the force to 20,000.
The President also condemned the international community for their complacency in dealing with the genocidal forces grouped under the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) whom he said freely move out of their countries to the DRC where they have bases.
“These Genocidaires move about freely in their capitals from where they travel to the DRC to organise their atrocities,” he remarked. He also rapped the western media which reports basing on the interests of western countries in disregard to the facts on ground.
“When it gets to Congo, they (media) blame everybody else--most especially Rwanda, but you will not find any line in their news articles where they are blaming the powers that be which in this case, are their countries,” he said.
He added: “We need the same type of media that will expose these people…their role is to try and make Rwanda look culpable.”
He emphasised that the west should take the blame on most of the problems in the DRC because of what they did in the past by dividing African countries.
“Who drew those lines that left one part of the family in Rwanda and took another part of it to Congo?” questioned the President.
DR Congo talks promising
Meanwhile, Kagame expressed optimism on the ongoing bilateral talks between Rwanda and the DRC with a view of solving the internal strife in the vast country.
He said that the talks have a chance to succeed because of Congo’s evident understanding of one of the root causes of the conflict, which is the FDLR.
“The discussions that have been going on between Ministers of Foreign Affairs have been very successful because finally there has been responsiveness on their part towards finding a solution about the FDLR,” he said.
The FDLR has been a major threat to regional security and recently several DRC top officials came clean by disowning these forces that had earlier been reported to be fighting alongside the national army in recent clashes with CNDP.
“There is a wider recognition of the problem than before that this problem of (FDLR) needs to be dealt with and fast,” remarked the President.
He also encouraged the Congolese to expedite the process of seeking a political solution that will see the government sit with the internally based groups to settle their differences.