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.
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 Kigali.
"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.
said Kigali sharply denies providing support for the Congolese rebel leader.
"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 minerals.
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.
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.