03/12/2012

Rwanda UK funding halted as violence in the Congo escalates


You wanna piece o' me? Rwandan M23 rebels step up violence in DRC.


As violence and reports of summary executions in the Dominican Republic of Congo come flooding in, the role of Rwanda in supporting M23 rebels is coming under greater international scrutiny. With all eyes watching the tinderbox, waiting for it to go up in flames, the UK's recent support of the Rwandan government by way of tranche funding is also being questioned.

Whether politicians from the cross-party group, "did not understand", Andrew Mitchell's relationship with or decision to reinstate aid to Rwanda on his last day of tenure as International Development Secretary is now neither here nor there. What matters is that we send no further funds to arm the rebel forces guilty of such heinous crimes.

The tranche had been indefinitely suspended due to concerns over connections that the government of Rwanda held with M23 rebels in the Congo. That was up until Mr Mitchell's last function in his role in office in September. His decision to reinstate funding is what seems to be causing the confusion. That, and the fact that someone dared to awaken the House of Lords during their afternoon nap has certainly left many befuddled faces in Parliament.

<h2>Rwanda to get no further UK funding</h2>

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister insists that number ten is sticking by Mr Mitchell's decision to release the £8M to Rwanda. His successor, Justine Greening, has categorically closed the door on President Paul Makabe's government, who'll now receive no further tranche funding for an indefinite period.

The guidelines on aiding Rwanda are governed by a Memorandum of Understanding. In Mr Mitchell's defence, the government's official line is that three of the conditions the Rwandans weren't meeting in July had been corrected, hence the fund's release at the end of Quarter 3.

Fresh 'credible and compelling reports' submitted to the Department for International Development have since alerted the department of further breaching of the Memorandum by Rwanda. With the escalating violence in the Dominican Republic of Congo and increased UN pressure to halt UK tranche payments to Rwanda, Paul Makabe can forget about his 7-figure Christmas present courtesy of the UK tax payer this year.

Great, so that means we'll put this quarter's earmarked £21M towards helping the homeless and poverty-stricken in the UK, then? Think a-feckin-gain.

Even though the UK has met its 0.7% of gross national income budget for foreign aid, the money that would have gone to Rwanda as a tranche fund is now being diverted to provide humanitarian aid for 100,000 refugees in the DRC.

It's no wonder the International Development Select Committee is calling for future aid to Rwanda to go through non-government channels. Mr Cameron - we hope you sleep tight Christmas Eve knowing that you've contributed to a country feck all to do with the UK.

Especially when you know that your own electorate is freezing its collective bollocks off when it could be being fed and heated with another £18M you plan to ship to foreign shores. You have not got a fecking clue, have you?