For nearly three years, Paris has been losing, one after the other, and its strongholds in Africa. Without going so far as to caricature it, Françafrique is in clear retreat everywhere, faced with the repeated assaults of « Russafrique » and « Sinafrique ».
More vigorous cooperation in the military and infrastructure sectors, in particular, is taking the place of condescension and arrogance, especially when this cooperation does not recall a past of trafficking, slavery and colonialism that irritates Africans more and more.
In the context of the crisis in the east of the DRC, it is an understatement to say that French investments in the Democratic Republic of Congo can be counted on the fingers of one hand, and that even in the sector of the fight against climate change, in which the DRC has offered itself as a solution country with its immense forest and age-old peat bogs, one can only note the fact that Paris is far from innovating and raising its global approach to the level of its declarations of intent.
In the case of the events in the East, France has been too late in showing itself to be the country of the Declaration of Human Rights, only condemning Rwanda’s adventurism after having humiliated the largest French-speaking country in the world by offering the post of Secretary General of La Francophonie to Louise Mushikiwabo of Rwanda.
These clumsinesses are the result of an abysmal deficit of affection from which Emmanuel Macron suffers cruelly in the hearts of the Congolese. The French head of state is neither Jacques Chirac, known as the African, who did not hesitate to visit the huts of his hosts, nor Giscard d’Estaing the Auvergne native, whose parachutists jumped without hesitation or haggling on Kolwezi to support the army of Marshal Mobutu in the late 1970s.
Acts that feed the nostalgia of the Congolese, even if we can understand that this part of history and its emotional charge totally escape Emmanuel Macron who had not even reached puberty at the time.
Unfortunately for him, in his practice of power, the French president seems closer to another political animal of the rich French fauna called Nicolas Sarkozy, who was not favoured by the Congolese either. Especially since in 2009, he had the audacity in front of the Congolese parliament to decline in his own way the question of the borders of the DRC with Rwanda, before using it to build the theory of the curious distribution of the wealth of the Congolese subsoil. A theory that inspired the claims of the M23 a year later, and founded the theory of territorial sharing that today haunts certain hexagonal offices and their extensions in the land of a thousand hills.
In short, so many disputes that fuel the anger of the Congolese, pushing them to look more sympathetically at events in the Sahel and West Africa, where the populations are learning to live without France and even against it!
It is therefore an understatement to say at this stage that within the Congolese political class, as well as within civil society in our country, there are few compatriots who defend France as part of their dreams for the future of the DRC. Especially when, faced with the multiple deaths in the East of the country, the repetitive violation of human rights, the support of Rwanda and the multinationals, and the plundering of this part of the country, most Congolese feel that France has chosen the camp of those who do not wish the country of Lumumba well.
President Macron is thus faced with a huge challenge: to conquer hearts and seduce minds.
Unfortunately, the outcry in the deep Congo is such that the French head of state will have to learn to walk on eggshells and put something other than words on the table if he hopes to win back the Congolese. Macron must avoid proposing to the DRC a humiliating negotiation with Rwanda and the M23, as observers suggest.