Written by Gael Masengi
It seems like the dark side of the neo-colonial relationship France has in Africa can now be laid to rest as the French people have chosen a leftist.
From the critics’ point of view, the relation between France and its former African colonies has always been about personal interests rather than political and diplomatic as it was originally conceived. Just few weeks ago, the investigative French website Mediapart had revealed how former president Nicholas Sarkozy who was said to be the reformist of the much criticised “France-Afrique” has followed on the footsteps of its predecessor Jacques Chirac who received briefcases full of money from various African head of state during his presidency. Like Chirac, Sarkozy used the 50 million Euros given to him by the late Libya’s colonel Gadhafi to win his 2007 presidential election, allegations Mediapart can prove.
In an interview conducted last year by Le Journal du Dimanche with a former adviser to Mr Chirac, Robert Bourgi, said he was acting as a middle man between African leaders and the Elysée. Bourgi who later became Sarkozy’s unofficial adviser claimed to have carry regularly suitcases stuffed with millions of francs from a string of African leaders. He said, he shuttled between African countries including Burkina Faso, Congo, Gabon, Ivory Coast and Senegal for more than 25 years. He also stated five African leaders as regular “donor” include: Abdoulaye Wade (Senegal), Blaise Compaoré (Burkina Faso), Laurent Gagbo (Ivory Coast), Dennis Sassou Nguesso (Congo) and Omar Bongo (Gabon). These allegations raise questions of the role France plays in African dictatorship, and whether the people from those countries do benefit from this kind of deal. Today millions of children will die in Africa because of hunger and diseases yet their governments will be “unable” to provide for them but top French politicians will be somehow served with the desired amount of cash to “reinforce diplomatic ties” with those governments. France which is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council do simply use its position to protect its “allies” against any kind of sanction or indictment from international organisations, no wonder of the all mentioned countries a true democracy does not exist and most the leaders have been occupying the presidency office for more than ten years with no plan of transparent elections.
When Felix Houphouët Boigny of Ivory Coast first used the term “Fance-Afrique”, it was meant to signify a close economic relationship French speaking Africa was willing to maintain with France, while acceding to independence, now the term represents more a negative than positive.
Now there is a new occupier at the Elysee Palace, will he make any difference? YES, I believe. Two weeks before his victory, the newly elected president of France, François Hollande held a press conference down the Eiffel tower. During Q&A session, a Paris based Congolese journalist asked Mr Hollande if he’s elected president whether he will or not attend the Francophonie summit scheduled later this year in the politically unstable Kinshasa, governed by an illegitimate government. “I will never accept the fraudulent elections” Hollande said “I will make sure that the relations between France and Africa is based on principles of solidarity, economic and linguistic” regarding regimes, FH as known by French people said they must respect the rules of democracy.
We can say, it’s a good start!