In recent frenetic moments of imperial panic, France has unashamedly laid bare its brazen obduracy in maintaining its neocolonial stranglehold over its former colonies in Africa. The hegemonic lamentations by France reverberating the intransigence of right-wing nationalism and populism exude a waning imperial power whose illicit geopolitical power is evidently obsolete.
The colonial paternalism exuded by France over its former colonies is a symptom of the imperial intransigence that is characteristic of imperialism. Ever since the country suffered military setbacks in the Sahel (occasioned by the failure of Operation Barkhane), it has used every opportunity available to express its concern for waning hegemonic geopolitical influence.
French President Emmanuel Macron, an avowed right-wing populist (even though his attempts to conceal this are abysmal) expressed his country’s concerns that it is no longer in charge of Africa, as if it owns the continent.
In making these sentiments known during a summit of Francophone countries in Tunisia, Macron accused Russia over its “predatory” practices in Africa, alleging this was to the detriment of French influence in the continent given how the latter is increasingly becoming unpopular.
He was challenging the assertion that France “exploits” historic and economic ties it shares with African countries for its parochial and selfish interests, and said this was a propagandistic machination aimed at discrediting French legitimacy and support in Africa.
“This perception is fed by others, it’s a political project … I’m no fool, many influencers, sometimes speaking on your programmes, are paid by the Russians. We know them.”
He made these remarks to TV5 Monde, arguing that Russians are solely responsible for the increasing negative perception of France among Africans.
At the same summit for French-speaking nations, Macron averred that French is the true universal language of Africa and Pan-Africanism, as if Africans do not have their own unique languages.
France is seriously misguided in its ill-informed and obsolete ideas of grand imperialism. France still thinks that it has all the rights in the world to own Africa and tell it what to do; that without this paternalistic duty it owes to the “uncivilized” continent then it remains in darkness forever.
Such should not be surprising. European powers have always shown their disdain for Africa, and they make it their mission to preach to the world that Africa is incapable of having full human beings. What Macron essentially implies here is that Africans are half-humans and they need the “enlightenment” of liberal Western democracy.
France should also know that its stranglehold over its former colonies—which it still directly controls—is not an immutable reality. At the same time, Africans should also know that Russia is not here to serve any African interests for the greater good of the immense poor black majority. It must still be made clear that in this day and age, Africa is not a playing ground and pawn for neocolonial battles.
The sovereignty of Africa is indispensably inalienable. Neither France nor Russia own Africa. And this must be consistently made clear to these foreign powers.