A former senior aide to Rwandan President Paul Kagame has accused the British government of funding “a dictator” in the African country and adding to the misery of victims who suffered from violence in the region.
Speaking to Channel 4’s Dispatches programme, David Himbara, who was Kagame’s private secretary until two years ago, warned that the UK government’s plan to give £270 million in aid to Rwanda over the next three years is “sustaining a bad regime”.
“Britain is not funding Rwanda. It is funding a dictator. Let no British taxpayer flatter herself or himself that they are helping Rwanda. No, you are merely extending their misery,” Himbara said.
Britain suspended £16 million of support to Rwanda after a United Nations (UN) report in June accused officials in Kigali of sponsoring armed rebel groups in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). However, later in September, the UK resumed half of its blocked aid to the African country, whose government is accused of helping March 23 movement (M23) rebels commit human rights abuses in the neighboring DRC.
The M23 rebels defected from the Congolese army in April in protest over alleged mistreatment in the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC). They had previously been integrated into the Congolese army under a peace deal signed in 2009.
Despite allegations of human rights abuse by Rwandan government forces, funding from London to the African state has nearly doubled since Britain’s Conservative-led coalition came to power in 2010.
Earlier in September, a spokesman for Congo’s government also denounced the UK government’s decision to unfreeze £8m in blocked aid to Rwanda, describing the move as “dangerous” and “potentially disastrous” to security and peace in the region.