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Nov-18-2012 00:56printcomments

Behind the Presidential Curtains: the Panel vs Greening and Kagame's Aid

When President Kagame became very close to Andrew Mitchell and Cameroon he then benefited from what was known as generosity of sympathy from what had happened in Rwanda in 1994.

Paul Kagame
Paul Kagame photo by Jennifer Fierberg

(SALEM) - In 2008 President Paul Kagame visited David Cameroon in the UK who was the head of the opposition party the conservatives. Among all, he met Andrew Mitchell who was the main contact and among the conservative party donors.

Andrew Mitchell was and is still a very close friend of David Cameroon. Mr. Mitchell is a successful business man who had supported the conservatives party in the UK all long. This meeting was an important one mainly for Paul Kagame who had an opportunity to meet David Cameroon who was a contender and possible next leader of Britain at the time.

When President Kagame became very close to Andrew Mitchell and Cameroon he then benefited from what was known as generosity of sympathy from what had happened in Rwanda in 1994.

President Kagame began receiving regular visits from Andrew Mitchell and his Umubano organisation which helped in building schools in Rwanda; according to the reliable sources we are holding these men exchanged letters and envelopes of unknown presents.

The depth of the relationship between Andrew Mitchell and Rwanda’s hardline leader was revealed as the senior Tory had visited the African state eight times in the past six years.

Mr Mitchell was criticised by human rights groups for lifting a freeze on £16million of British aid to President Paul Kagame’s regime on his final day as International Development Secretary in September of 2012.

Documents released by the Department for International Development suggest Mr Mitchell had promised Kagame he would continue pumping in aid money despite concerns about the regime’s dire human rights record. Most of the visits related to Project Umabano, the voluntary project set up by Mr Mitchell and David Cameron in 2007 to help ‘detoxify’ their party’s uncaring image. These revelations answers the focus and the attention on the unlikely friendship between Mr Mitchell and President Kagame, whose regime is accused of repression against political opponents at home and arming a murderous rebellion in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Internal DFID documents, released under the Freedom of Information Act, show that in a phone call in February 2011 the men discussed Mr Mitchell’s decision to increase aid to Rwanda from £60million a year to £90million, much of it poured into the Kagame regime’s coffers as ‘budget support’.

Two months earlier Mr Mitchell had flown to Rwanda to see Kagame for a ‘90-minute tete-a-tete followed by lunch’ in which they had ‘friendly but robust’ exchanges. That meeting followed Kagame’s controversial re-election with 93 per cent of the vote.

Andrew Mitchell

Mr Mitchell reluctantly froze the £16million aid payment to Rwanda after a devastating UN report on the regime’s support for the bloody rebellion in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Other major donors, including the US and Germany, have continued their aid bans. But, in his final act as International Development Secretary, Mr Mitchell released the money.

A senior Foreign Office source called the decision a ‘mistake’. The British government continues to struggle in making a decision of whether the aid will be stopped or not, the panel interviewed Justine Greening the international development secretary on the 13th/11/12 in regards to the Rwandan aid. During the evidence session where Justine Greening testified she appeared nervous and could not seem right provide adequate answers to most questions. Yet still, early signs indicate that her main focus is to release the aid.

The evidence session ended with no proper result and it was only the panel allowed to ask questions.

Justine Greening

Justine Greening was asked what the decision will be in regards to taking action on Rwanda aid, either releasing it or stopping it completely. She appeared to struggle to come up with a convincing response to the panel; however she indicated that she would like the aid to be reinstated because of the visible development in Rwanda.

I wish she knew what really goes on inside our communities where no one can afford a dose of paracetamol and the aid money goes straight to the RPF ruling party and gets whisked to foreign banks as well as other investments. This caused a lot of questions from the panel many of them asking Ms. Greening if the violence in DRC had ended while others asked her if the issue of human rights violations had been assessed further. She was also asked about Kagame’s luxurious expenses of spending $10,000 on hotel room in New York. Ms. Greening then indicated her future plans and tried to distance herself from such questions and Andrew Mitchell by explaining her plans for when she took over the position from Mr. Mitchell and the development in Rwanda.

She further spoke about meeting the nongovernmental organisations as well as the Rwandan Government, also she explained that she is waiting for the United Nations to discuss with other donor countries to see where they stand even though many countries already have closed the aid chapter for Rwanda. She promised the final decision to be announced next month.

But what is all this about? Let’s look at the reports that have come up with the same result on Rwanda vs the DRC issue.

  1. Human rights watch
  2. Amnesty international
  3. GoE group of experts report
  4. United nations report

The countries that stopped aid without even needing to review their decision include a number of European countries, and are as follows:

  1. Germany
  2. Belgium
  3. Sweden
  4. Holland
  5. Denmark

The United States of America opened the act stopping £20 million which prompted most of the countries mentioned above. But why is Britain struggled to make a decision on this matter?

Rwanda joined the Common Wealth Countries a couple of years ago; this is being used as a shield to confuse the whole nation. Rwanda switched from speaking French to speaking English this also can be used as shield for the government to convince its citizens that some investments are on about.

The main problem that we as Rwandans are having today is the reality of Rwanda being led as a dictatorship. The western leaders have proven many times that they cannot work out who is a dictator and who is not. They cannot do it simply because they do not care, because if they did Justine Greening wouldn’t be discussing about releasing the Rwanda aid today.

In Africa we have no proper democratic leaders, exclude South Africa and Ghana please, the rest are just as confused as their donors who use aid as investment. Justine Greening is one of the conservative members who participated in the Umubano in 2008 in Rwanda, like many others she was mislead and left for Rwanda to participate in charitable work. The other UK officials who travelled to Rwanda are as follows: (in the positions they held at the time 2008)

  • Geoffrey Clifton-Brown - Shadow Minister for International Trade and Development
  • Tobias Ellwood - Shadow Minister for Tourism
  • Justine Greening - Shadow Minister for the Treasury
  • Jeremy Hunt - Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
  • Mark Lancaster - Shadow Minister for International Development
  • Francis Maude - Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office and Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
  • Andrew Mitchell - Shadow Secretary of State for International Development
  • David Mundell - Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland
  • Brooks Newmark - Assistant Chief Whip
  • Desmond Swayne - Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Leader of the Opposition

The PPCs participating in Project Umubano are:

  • Harriett Baldwin – West Worcestershire
  • John Bell – Clwyd South
  • Ron Bell – Blackpool South
  • Rob Halfon – Harlow
  • Damian Hinds – East Hampshire
  • Chris Kelly – Dudley South
  • Pauline Latham – Mid Derbyshire
  • Wendy Morton – Tynemouth
  • Hazel Noonan – Coventry North-east
  • Mark Pawsey – Rugby
  • Maggie Throup – Solihull

This trip was and still continues be repeatedly criticised by the opposition party Labour which was in power at the time.

On the 08th/11/12 when Andrew Mitchell appeared in front of the panel he made it clear that not only didcDavid Cameron know that he was going to release the aid but everyone did and it had been discussed and agreed to for the aid to be released.

Noble Marara the young soldier
from Rwanda... and Marara today.

Justine Greening, at the panel, pointed out that due to development patterns in Rwanda she would agree for the aid to be reinstated.

Many interested parties are questioning if there is something else behind this potential decision because we are talking of a head of state that use the aid to do the following:

Kagame’s RPF party is worth £500 billion, the aid is injected in the party’s business to keep it going.

Why should Britain give $ 83 million when there is clear violation of human rights in DRC and in Rwanda? The DRC refugees camps, their children are being forced to join the M23 rebels, look at the political prisoners in Rwanda.

The money given by Britain subsidizes government budget which is diverted to bank roll wars and entrench a one party dictatorship.

The big chunk of Aid is stolen and/or invested in private business such as Tristar and the government Ministers of finance banking foreign currency in Mauritius. Why should Tristar invest in foreign currency while it is earning in local currency? This is money laundering and capital freight. Hard currency earned from donors is quickly siphoned out.

Kagame spends £10,000 a night hotel room when his citizens cannot afford the basics, the eastern DRC has been destabilized with war crimes for a decade because of this same man.

Whether the aid is released or not Kagame will continue to destabilize the region. He still needs to invest in the Congo as well as steal the minerals for his personal and professional gain. The Congo is the leading producer of Gold and Diamond and Rwanda itself does not own or claim to have an investible amount of geo-strategic minerals for consumption on the global market.

In 1996 the reason why we attacked Congo has rapidly shifted and no Rwandan leader including Kagame himself remembers why we invaded in the first place.


Edited and submitted by: Jennifer Fierberg, MSW



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