Johnson suggests UK should switch aid from Africa to Eastern Europe

He suggested aid should be used to fight Vladimir Putin.

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has questioned the wisdom of giving aid to Zambia and Tanzania because doing so does not help the UK in its geopolitical battle against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In a statement to parliament today, Johnson announced he would scrap the Department for International Development and hand its duties to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Charities and opposition parties accused him of “political vandalism” but Johnson said the decision would mean aid was handed out in a way that benefit’s the UK’s interests.

Johnson told MPs: “DFID outspends the Foreign Office more than four times over and yet no single decision-maker in either department is able to unite our efforts or take a comprehensive overview.

“We give as much aid to Zambia as we do to Ukraine, though the latter is vital for European security. We give ten times as much aid to Tanzania as we do to the six countries of the Western Balkans, who are acutely vulnerable to Russian meddling.”

“And, regardless of the merits of these decisions, no single department is currently empowered to judge whether they make sense or not: we tolerate an inherent risk of our left and right hands working independently.”

In Zambia and Tanzania, 60% and 36% of people live below the poverty line. In Ukraine, this figure is just 3.8%.

In a 2002 Spectator article, Boris Johnson described Ugandans as “aids-ridden” people who can’t build their own bicyles and live in “stone age conditions”in mud huts. He said that the UK should still be in charge of the country.

He has also called black people as “picaninnies” who have “watermelon smiles” and said that Barack Obama disliked the UK because of his Kenyan ancestry.

Johnson has been one of the targets of recent Black Lives Matter protests with demonstrators labelling him a racist.

Joe Lo is a co-editor of Left Foot Forward

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