Kagame:”Comeon! What is $200,000? It’s nothing,”

Inaugurating a senior military officers’ college, President Paul Kagame on Monday fired back at the United States government which announced over the weekend that it had halted $200,000 meant for another smaller military academy.

“Comeon! What is $200,000? It’s nothing,” said the President amid applause in Musanze district, northern Rwanda. “…It is not about the $200,000 withheld, it is about the facts leading to the decision that is saddening”.

President Paul Kagame was inaugurating the Rwanda Defense Force Command and Staff College at Nyakinama, where officers from Major to Colonel will be trained in various top professional military courses. Previously, officers have had to attend foreign colleges.

The US state department says the funding – $200,000 – will be reallocated to other countries. This is about Rwf 121.6million which was to go to a yet unnamed military training centre in Rwanda. The Defense ministry 2012-13 budget is about $88.3million.

The President first read from a prepared speech, then after about 20 minutes, he moved to speaking unscripted. In the longer-than usual speech, President Kagame revealed what he called “secrets” about the conflict in eastern DRC. Without naming any names, he said member of the international community were to blame for DRC troubles.

“Problems of our neighbor across were not created by Rwanda. The international community is so arrogant they don’t listen and do not provide solutions but are quick to turn around and shift blame,” said the President.

He said before the current fighting, he spoke to DRC President Kabila on phone. “I picked the phone and called the President of the Congo and asked him about the crisis,” said Kagame, adding that Kabila was instead bent on arresting “someone”, in apparent reference to Gen Bosco Ntaganda.

President Kagame again dismissed accusations that Rwanda was arming the M23 rebels, whom he called “these fellows”. “These rebels are deserting with their arms — we have not even supplied a single bullet…we have no reason to anyway.”

“If the world has this kind of experts on whose account people are going to be blamed, abused then…” added the president, before firing: “They screwed up the case of Congo and are instead to put it on our shoulders.”