The President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Felix Tshisekedi, and his France counterpart, President Emmanuel Macron, engaged in a low-key, hostile war of words during the latter’s recent visit to the African nation.
This exchange of words occurred during a joint press conference with media in which President Tshisekedi put President Macron on the spot over how he spoke to African leaders in countries where French was one of the official spoken languages.
“(We) must change how we cooperate. The way France and Europe treat us. You must begin to respect us and see Africans in a different way. You have to stop treating us and talking to us in a particular tone. As if you are always absolutely right and we are not,” said President Tshisekedi before gathered journalists and the audience began cheering him on.
The confrontation was based on President Macron’s decision to revise France’s policies for Africa where he would end the setting up of military bases but begin academies where the French forces would train forces from the host countries and supply them with the equipment they needed.
In regards to this matter, President Macron had attempted to say that a French journalist had made some remarks which did not represent the French government, hence President Tshisekedi’s visible anger during the press conference, but the DRC leader butted in and told off President Macron that it hadn’t been a journalist who spoke, but the French Foreign Minister, Mr Le Drian.
President Tshisekedi also told President Macron that, “Francafrique no longer exists. We must establish a policy of equals.”
The hostility between the two leaders was also equated to an earlier assertion by President Tshisekedi that France should be held accountable for the violence being witnessed in DRC.
At this point, President Macron spoke with assumed superiority over his counterpart.
“Since 1994, it’s not the fault of France, forgive me for saying it in such blunt terms, that you have not been capable of restoring sovereignty — neither military, security, or administrative — in your country. This is also a reality. We must not look for culprits outside this affair,” said President Macron.
France stands accused of being pro-Rwanda. Rwanda and DRC are currently engaged in a war of words as DRC accused Rwanda of supporting M23, a militant group that claim to be defending Congolese with Rwandan ancestry in Goma.
Source : Nairobi News