“Look at us differently, without a paternalistic gaze! “, asserts Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi. "We're taking a new step! “says Emmanuel Macron. The two leaders spoke bluntly to the press on Saturday in Kinshasa on the end of "Françafrique" and France's new "software" with the continent.
"I encouraged him on this subject because I believe that Françafrique is outdated", first sketched the president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in an amphitheater steeped in history at the "Palais de la Nation".
It was there that Patrice Lumumba, hero of independence, pronounced his violent indictment against Belgian colonization, in the presence of King Baudouin, and that independence was proclaimed on June 30, 1960.
The French president ended Saturday in the DRC a tour of four Central African countries under the sign of the "new partnership" he intends to build with the continent.
Anti-French resentment is growing in France's former backyard in the Sahel, where French forces have tried unsuccessfully to rein in jihadism since 2013 and have ended up being blamed for all the ills.
Russia took advantage of this to advance its pawns and gain influence while others, from China to Turkey to India, established themselves in commerce and the economy.
"If France wants to compete today with all of Africa's other partners, it must get in tune with African politics and the way African peoples now look at cooperation partners," Félix warned. Tshisekedi.
Emmanuel Macron was caught up by "Françafrique" during a brief stopover Friday in Brazzaville - too short, according to his hosts - where President Denis Sassou Nguesso, in power for nearly 40 years, embodies more than ever the legacy of the pass. The Head of State conceded that he stopped in Congo "because you should not humiliate anyone when you go on a tour", even if his interlocutors are not always elected to the "best democratic standard".
"We're not here to serve him soup," he insisted, however. "We deal with the leaders who are there with respect...noting our agreements and our disagreements and saying what's wrong when it's wrong, which is what I did yesterday," he said. . The French president was also expected in Kinshasa on remarks by his former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, who had described the controversial election of Félix Tshisekedi as an "African compromise" in January 2019.
"When there are irregularities (in elections in the West), we don't talk about American-style, French-style compromises," the Congolese president said in response to a question from the French press. "Look at us differently by respecting us, by considering us as true partners and not always with a paternalistic look, with the idea always of knowing what is necessary for us", he hammered to applause of the Congolese press.
Emmanuel Macron, interfering in the "ping-pong" that was taking place before his eyes, then defended the French press, at the risk of sounding like a lesson to his host. “I want you to know that when there are electoral problems in the United States of America or in France, the press talks about them, they denounce them […] This is the job of an independent press,” said he pointed.
“With us when there are political misappropriations […] there are trials, people are condemned. Don't think there's a double standard,” he said, sparking a burst of laughter from the audience.