Over the last decade, it has become harder and harder for France to project this air of neutrality and progressiveness, especially in its relations with Africa. The European nation is one of the biggest recipients of colonialism, forcing the countries it sacked in West Africa to domicile their revenue and natural resources in France through a policy of assimilation. Though it officially had no more ‘colonies’ in Africa by the 1970’s, it continues to interfere in the governments of Francophone West African countries, even going as far as stationing French military forces in its ‘ally’ countries.
Nigeria experienced this kind of bullying firsthand in its feud with neighbouring country Cameroon over the ownership of the Bakassi Penninsula, that led to an armed standoff and eventually Nigeria ceding the land to France by proxy of Cameroon. But we have also seen the French government forced to acknowledge its past. After much protest, the French president Emmanuel Macron conceded that the French had profited off stolen art from West Africa and promised to return them back to their home countries, though no discussion was made about retributions for damage that allowed the pillage of these art pieces. But Macron’s contriteness must be short lived because France is once again meddling in Africa’s matters.
This time around, the victim of their meddling is Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao, the permanent ambassador of the African Union to the United states. Dr. Quao had held this position since 2016, and was accepted by all states o the Union for her courage and willingness to address injustices meted against the continent. She spoken openly about her plans to encourage the union to accept ‘Africa We Want’, a position that consolidated the continent’s power as part of the union’s 2063 agenda. Here is a video discussing her views for the continent.
One of her speeches discussing the scope of France’s interference in African politics and its long term consequences was leaked to the internet recently and in response, Quao was fired by the African Union unceremoniously and had to find out via third parties. A petition has been started to reinstate Quao in defiance of the French government and force them to address their past.
To find out more about Quao and sign the petition, check here.
Edwin Okolo is an author and journalist who has worked with YNaija, TheNativemag and the Naked Convos.