By David Himbara
General Paul Kagame used to be the darling of British politicians. Of late, British foreign aid to their favourite strongman has sharply dropped – Rwanda is not in the top 10 recipients of British aid. Further, the UK is openly critical of Kagame’s extrajudicial killings and other atrocities.
General Paul Kagame has dealt with five British prime ministers from 1994 to 2021, namely, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Theresa May, and Boris Johnson. The British conservative and labour politicians used to pile foreign aid onto Rwanda and sing praises to the Rwandan strongman. But of late, Rwanda does not feature in the African top ten recipients of British aid. In 2019/2020, the top ten foreign aid recipients were as follows; Ethiopia £300 million; Nigeria £258 million; South Sudan £207 million; DRC £184 million; Somalia £176 million; Uganda £154 million; Tanzania £137 million; Kenya £134 million; Mozambique £104 million; and Zimbabwe £99 million. British foreign aid to Rwanda for 2019/2020 was £54 million.
Meanwhile, the UK government these days openly criticizes the Rwandan regime’s killings and other atrocities. In January 2021, the UK lectured Kagame that as a member of the Commonwealth and future Chair-in-Office, Rwanda should model itself to “Commonwealth values of democracy, rule of law, and respect for human rights.” The UK then challenged Rwanda to “conduct transparent, credible and independent investigations into allegations of extrajudicial killings, deaths in custody, enforced disappearances and torture, and bring perpetrators to justice.” Stay tuned.