The United Kingdom has said it will reflect “very carefully” before giving anymore financial aid to Rwandan President Paul Kagame. Addressing the House of Commons International Development Committee Tuesday, Britain’s International Development Secretary Justine Greening said despite her predecessor Andrew Mitchell having signed off £16million to President Kagame on the last day of his time as International Development Secretary, the continued support for Rwanda would depend on progress on various issues.
Mr Mitchell is already under fire for signing off the £16m despite concerns about Rwanda’s alleged backing for violent militias in DR Congo. But Ms Greening defended Mitchell’s decision saying it had been taken in a “sound and robust” way. The UK’s decision to go ahead with an initial £16m tranche of funding to Rwanda was controversial as the African country’s rulers have allegedly funded rebels from the M23 militia group accused of murder and rape in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.
Other EU nations have since withdrawn funds and the UK suspended budget support in July over concerns about Rwanda’s alleged behaviour. But Mr Mitchell told MPs last week he had decided to resume aid to the country after two out of three conditions set by the UK – a ceasefire in the Kivus region and an end to practical support from Rwanda to militias – were met. Ms Greening told the Commons international development committee that she was not going to “second-guess” her predecessor’s decision – which was taken on his last day in the department in September.
She said her predecessor, when he appeared before the committee last week, had set out in “very clear-cut” terms the basis for his decision: “He had clearly been through a very robust process and I think that was absolutely the right thing to do. “I believe that he did a full, sound and proper job in his role in taking what I think was a very difficult decision”.