Bulletin N° 34 avril 2023 Started with a grand speech meant to break for the umpteenth time with the contemptuous and lesson-giving practices of the former colonial power, Emmanuel Macron's African week is a complete failure, both the reception of people can leave no doubt about the possible results and so vague is France's new African project presented at the Elysée.
"The necessary humility” put forward by the French President has hardly led to a new vision of Franco-African issues.
The journey began in Gabon, led by Ali Bongo, son and successor of his father Omar Bongo, who was one of the most faithful servants of French multinationals, continued in Angola, then in the Republic of Congo, where a " life president" very concerned about the interests of the former colonial power and ended in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where a whole people waited for him on a war footing...
Macron takes the Gabonese for fools
It was off to a bad start. Six months before the presidential election, the suspicious Gabonese hardly believed in a trip motivated by the major conference "One forest summit", which conference was decided on the sidelines of COP23, by Macron and Bongo. Support for Ali Bongo is barely disguised.
The population of Libreville greeted the arrival of the French president with concerts of pots and a ghost town day, while in Port Gentil, the inhabitants took out the Russian flags.
In the DRC, resentment
But it was in Kinshasa that the trip was the most perilous. Since the start of his five-year term, Macron has constantly strengthened ties between France and Rwanda, a country which, via the rebel movement M23, has been attacking eastern DRC for more than ten years. The Congolese are on edge, exhausted, the detestation of Paul Kagame has reached new heights. They are sickened by the lack of international reaction to this attack on their territorial integrity. When the Congolese compare their situation to Western support for Ukraine, they evoke “a double standard” of which they are the victims.
Macron cannot take the risk of angering his Rwandan counterpart, Kigali having become a part of French strategy in Africa. The Rwandan soldiers are, at the request of Paris, sent to the Central African Republic, to Mozambique and there is talk that they will replace the French forces present in Benin
“Macron and Kagame criminals”
In the end, Emmanuel Macron's visit to Kinshasa could only have reignited the anger of the citizens of the DRC who shouted their discontent. The walls of the French Embassy have been tagged: “Macron/Kagamé = criminals” “Macron = M23” .
Macron has absolutely failed to mitigate the disappointment of the Congolese people in the matter of Rwandan aid to the M23 group.
Many journalists and even African leaders wonder about the real purpose of this visit; perhaps a way to escape the ground swell of protest in France. And probably to hide that, contrary to the resounding announcements, the leaders of the French imperialist power have no intention of depriving Africa of its soldiers.
The reality of the situation
The French army is not about to leave. If it was forced to pack up in Mali, then in Burkina Faso, three thousand French soldiers are still present in Niger or in Chad, Senegal, Ivory Coast. "Le Monde Diplomatique" thus characterizes this ongoing situation: "Paris remains at war in the Sahel against an enemy with vague outlines, conveniently qualified as "terrorist", a war of indefinite duration, which continues within an imprecise legal framework (and never discussed by parliamentarians), with opaque methods that France even intends to extend to the coastal countries of the Gulf of Guinea. ".
Because if most of the troops (1200 men) are now concentrated in Niamey, capital of Niger, we can note the (new) presence of French soldiers in northern Benin. The two countries in the region most involved in receiving and using French soldiers, Niger and the Ivory Coast, have leaders who are eminent servants of the compradores, but they walk on eggshells, the peoples of these countries are fed up with the tutelage of the "former" colonial power and in particular the weight of its military.
Mali, Burkina, where it was the French army that allowed ex-president Compaoré, the assassin of Sankara, to flee, today serve as an example for the population of other countries. Resentment against French neocolonial domination is growing, in Guinea but also in Niger, precisely, at the heart of the warlike system. Many Africans wonder what Paris's game is with the fascist Islamist armed groups. No one has forgotten that when Hollande sent his troops to Bamako, it was first to overthrow the government of Captain Sanogo and put docile leaders in his place, but also to help certain Tuareg militias in the north of the country and to fight against them. others, perhaps more under US influence. Where is this game? We do not know it well, but there is reason to wonder.
We can legitimately think that the French State needs a lasting war to legitimize its military presence, which will therefore allow it to settle permanently, to ensure that the local soldiers do not want, as in Mali and Burkina Faso, recover the sovereignty of their country and continue to have control over natural resources.
The Malian anti-globalist and feminist sociologist, Aminata Traoré, a figure of progressive Africa, goes further. In an interview with the weekly "Le Journal du Mali", she is delighted with Mali's regained sovereignty and recalls that: " The so-called 'anti-jihadist' war is in reality under our skies a new stage of imperialism and of recolonization through military intervention. »
What the will to drive out French imperialism means
In France, most commentators, even if they are officially anti-colonialists, do not like this vision of African peoples determined to finally drive out neocolonial power, they prefer to explain, like Macron, that this are the Russians who are behind it all. It's so much easier!
That the Russians, like the Chinese or the Turks have established a foothold in Africa, that they compete heavily with American or French influences is a reality. It is the game between the imperialist powers, one of the clearest expressions of the stage of imperialism. But for all that, it is not contrary to what the French Ministry of Defense had written about the Central African Republic in 2022"massive disinformation with the help of Russia"which explains the resentment of the populations in particular of West Africa against neocolonial France. Populations confronted with the "anti-jihadist war" find that fascist Islamist organizations tend to flourish and the areas affected by the fighting expand, and that the French army (in Mali) left no autonomy to the local army. The seizures of power by the military in Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea are expressions of the anger of these populations. These countries have decided to review their security policies and change their alliances and above all to get rid of neocolonial France not only because they consider it ineffective but above all because they are wary of the opaque game it plays. Besides,
The reasons for the desire to drive out France are therefore much deeper than the simple underground action of Russia. It is moreover to take the Africans for fools to suggest that it is simply because the Russians tell them so that they reject France. This is also in line with Macron's performance, particularly in DR Congo. It is always with the same contempt that he treats Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi, who is not known as a fierce anti-colonialist or a great revolutionary.
Behind the unchanged way of taking African leaders (except buddies) for minors, the truth is that Macron does not intend to change his policy one iota. The slogan "La Françafrique is over!" is never more than a slogan, which had already been pronounced by Sarkozy, then by Hollande.
The French neocolonial power will stay in Africa, with its army, and the whole Macron circus can hardly hide that the goal is, in the words of Lampedusa in "Le Guépard", "that everything changes so that nothing changes".
The Revolutionary Communist Party stands alongside the workers and peoples of Africa who wish to regain their sovereignty by ridding themselves of the neocolonial tutelage of imperialist France. We demand the departure from Africa of all the troops who have nothing to do there, in particular those of France.