Yesterday, December 4th 2012, Rwanda’s Minister of Finance and Economic Planning John Rwangombwa, Minister of Foreign Affairs Louise Mushikiwabo and Minister of Defence General James Kabarebe appeared before both chambers of the parliament to explain the crisis in the eastern DRC and how the freezing of aid will affect the Rwandan people.
During the session Minister Mushikiwabo outlined efforts the Government of Rwanda has undertaken to help build peace in the eastern DRC.
“We have worked closely with the ICGLR and we are happy that we are heading to the right direction because M23 movement has agreed to pull out of Goma as a way of allowing negotiations to take its course”.
“There has been a breakthrough and we are informed by the DRC government that it has already put together a team that will negotiate on their behalf during the talks with M23 rebel movement” Minister Mushikiwabo said.
She called on lawmakers to use their forums to tell the correct version of the situation in the eastern DRC and to counter the distortion by the so-called Group of Experts.
Speaking about the aid freeze and how it could impact Rwanda’s development, Minister Rwangombwa said that the decision by some donors will not in any way derail the country’s development plans. He explained that the aid they expected to be delayed or withheld constitutes about 12 percent of the national budget. The Minister said that of the total amount of aid, five percent was the proportion most likely not to be received.
“This means that our development will not be greatly affected and we expect to received over 85 percent of the money from multilateral donors such as the African Development Bank and the World Bank” Minister Rwangombwa said.
Minister Rwangombwa re-emphasised the need for Rwandans to maintain the spirit of self reliance and look towards a future independent of foreign aid.
“Beyond the DRC crisis, we need to draw a lesson from this and plan on how we can do without foreign aid” he said.
Defence Minister General James Kabarebe gave a detailed explanation of the events that led up to the creation of the rebel group, saying it emerged out of the failure of the DRC government.
He said that Rwanda has worked hard to encourage peace in the Congo and accused the international community of deliberating ignoring the role played by Rwanda in building peace in the DRC.
‘We have had different efforts including Umoja Wetu and brokering the 2009 deal but no one has ever recognised this’ he said. Umoja Wetu was an operation jointly mounted by RDF and Congolese troops aimed at routing negative forces including the FDLR out of Congo.
‘Cooperation with the DRC army continued today. For example, the joint intelligence team which up to now remain operational in Goma – including another mechanism called the joint intelligence fusion centre’
“We have the joint verification mechanism that also has Congo on it that has never at any point corroborated the allegations against Rwanda by this UN report and its sponsors” Kabarebe said.
Source: Government of Rwanda (www.gov.rw)