Cooperation between Rwanda and UK irks Tshisekedi

On 23 March 2023 at 07:48

The partnership between Rwanda and United Kingdom (UK) continues to be strengthened, especially joint efforts to finding a solution to migrant issues, which has irked the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that seeks to tarnish Rwanda’s reputation.

The UK Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, recently visited Rwanda and joined the Dr. Ernest Nsabimana to lay the foundation stone for the construction of homes for migrants who will be deported by the UK.

This is a project worth 60 billion Rwandan francs, which includes the construction of 528 housing units in six months in Gahanga of Kicukiro District.

Different people have expressed concerns about the close collaboration between Rwanda and the UK on a sensitive issue of illegal migration.

Yolande Makolo, Spokesperson for the Government of Rwanda, recently highlighted the UK’s commitment to assisting Rwanda in bolstering its capacities to support migrants who wish to stay in the country and pursue their aspirations. According to her, the UK’s efforts are focused on enhancing Rwanda’s ability to care for these migrants while also investing in the country’s economic development.

In addition to offering support for the care of migrants, the UK will also allocate resources towards infrastructure development, service delivery improvements, education, and training programs for both Rwandans and immigrants.

At the onset, the United Kingdom pledged £140 million to support Rwanda’s efforts in preparing for and aiding migrants across various sectors.

Makolo stated that, if the precise quantity of migrants destined for Rwanda and their arrival date are determined, further financial means will be provided.

However, DRC President, Félix Tshisekedi, continues to denounce Rwanda as a threat to his country, accusing the UK of not pressuring Rwanda to stop aiding the M23 group despite that fact that these accusations are unfounded.

In an interview with the British newspaper The Times, Tshisekedi stated that the UK chooses to "turn a blind eye and remain silent" on the situation in his country. He also claimed that the UK values its agreement with Rwanda more than supporting peace and security in the DRC.

On the other hand, Braverman recently emphasized that some of the attacks against Rwanda are based on unfounded facts.

During Emmanuel Macron’s recent visit to Kinshasa, he informed Tshisekedi that he cannot support peace talks and impose sanctions against Rwanda at the same time.

Macron also noted that the situation in the DRC is complex, with over 130 armed groups present in the country, including the M23, which has initiated attacks to demand that the government uphold agreements reached between the two parties.

Tshisekedi criticized the UK for its differential treatment of Ukraine and the DRC in terms of managing conflict situations.

Last week, the British Minister for Development and Africa was in Goma, DRC, where he launched a project aimed at educating 60,000 children in the Kasaï province.

A discussion on security issues in eastern DRC also took place during this visit.

The partnership between Rwanda and United Kingdom has frustrated Tshisekedi.