Embarrassment, outrage as French leader’s imperialist attitude slips out
It was supposed to be part of an imperial ride through an Africa that French President Emmanuel Macron expected to be most appreciative of the Western European nation’s sacrifices on its behalf. It had intervened in taking out the despot, Muammar Gaddaffi, it had sent troops to help roll back the Islamist advance in several states within the region and it had also made fresh commitments to helping out with the renascent challenge of Black African slavery. So, roll out the drums, please!
But at Ouagadougou, Macron was to get more than he bargained for: angry protesters and a president who would not be talked down!
The French have had troops in Burkina Faso for years now. And the protesters wanted a very simple answer: why are you most interested in leaving your troops on African soil even much more than you allow exchange students from Burkina Faso to continue their studies in France?
His car was pelted with stones, a hand grenade was lobbed at a bus carrying French troops and bonfires and barricades were put on the roads.
And to cap it all was a string of undiplomatic remarks he made at a lecture at the University of Ouagadougou. Among others, he told the students to ask their own president Roch Marc Christian Kabore who was seated with him on the podium why their infrastructure was not working!
“Sometimes you talk to me like I’m still a colonial power. But I do not want to deal with electricity in universities in Burkina Faso, It is the work of the president [of Burkina Faso].”
Slighted, President Kabore stood up at this point and began to walk out on his guest!
Rather than caution himself, Macron would simply not get it: “He’s leaving… Stay there! So, he went to repair the air conditioning….”
As we write, damage control is still ongoing with Macron’s team trying to mollify the Burkinabe President, Burkinabes and the rest of the Francophone diaspora.
Talk about what is in a man’s heart spewing out when he least expects it to! And to think that it is not Thomas Sankara that is President at the moment! Macron would have seen first-hand why the iconic leader renamed his nation ‘Land of the Brave!’
President Roch Marc Christian Kabore of Burkina Faso