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Mushikiwabo: A Treasure of the Francophonie and Africa

Written by: George Kalisa
Wednesday, October 17th, 2018, 8:34
1169 Views

Eighty four nations that come together to form the Francophonie unanimously elected Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Hon. Louise Mushikiwabo the new Secretary-General of the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF) on October12 during the 17th Francophonie Summit in Yerevan, Armenia.

 

Apart from the former French colonies, the OIF includes countries where French is spoken with affinity towards the French culture. Rwanda is a founder member of the OIF, which was midwifed in 1970 in Niamey, Niger.

 

To address the old and current political problems that have swallowed most Francophone countries in mainly Africa needs a leader with significant political capital, influence and experience who can serve as a symbol of unity and peace. This was a fundamental parameter in the search for the SG of OIF this year.

 

The OIF awaited a leader capable of enhancing current efforts to resolve conflicts triggered and sustained by ideological political differences and sectarianism based on language, ethnicity, gender and economic disparities. Many a times, appalling situations are fuelled by tendency to neglect democratic values, corruption and high propensity to cling to power in this political bloc.

 

Relevance of Mushikiwabo

It is against that backdrop, the OIF leaders saw in Mushikiwabo a leader of the times worth their confidence and trust vis-à-vis the challenges hindering unity, peace and progress in many member states of this political grouping. Central African Republic (CAR), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Cameroon and Burundi are some of the OIF countries that need sustainable solutions to address political quagmire that has crippled development for decades.

Mushikiwabo’s campaigns sailed on the back of unity and solidarity of African nations, search for solutions to youth unemployment and immigrants.

 

Mushikiwabo comes from a nation that hosted the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and anarchy traced to divisive politics and ethnicity leading to the death of over one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

 

However, no one is saying that the Anglophone countries have significant success stories to celebrate save a handful. But, the magnitude of political instabilities and civil strife based on the problems alluded to is worrying in some Francophonie countries.

 

Rwanda is one of a few Francophonie nations whose progress, political stability and socio-economic transformation have beaten the odds, placing it in global limelight.

 

Just 24 years ago, Rwanda emerged from the genocide. In response to the adverse effects left behind by the heinous history, Rwandans have innovated political reforms and capacity that have proved effective and sustainable in conflict resolution.

 

The country under the visionary leadership of H.E President Paul Kagame demonstrated resilience and political will to put in place foundations for sustainable unity and reconciliation, and socio-economic transformation.    

 

It has become a centre for research on areas of conflict resolutions for many governments and scholars across the world.

 

Kagame who is currently the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) is largely credited for championing several economic reforms and Africa’s unity - a fundamental factor underlying Mushikiwabo’s victory.    

  

It’s, thus, this common goal that made the Rwandan woman the most relevant for the SG of OIF for the next four years. Mushikiwabo will be eligible to seek re-election.

Rwanda’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Amb. Olivier Nduhungirehe , described Mushikiwabo as dynamic and relevant heartily thanked both African and non-African leaders for her victory.     

 

“The designation of @LMushikiwabo as secretary general of the @OIFFrancophonie East is the victory of a #Francophonie dynamic, ambitious and relevant in the world. She is also the victory of a brilliant, experienced and determined woman. @LMFrancophonie #SommetEVN18” tweeted Amb. Nduhungirehe.

 

“I express my profound gratitude to all those who have supported me in this beautiful adventure, to the General Secretariat of LA #Francophonie2018! To the African and non-African leaders who brought me today to the head of our Organization: A thousand times thank you!” said Mushikiwabo.

 

Amidst spirited worldwide jubilations the usual bold and eloquent Mushikiwabo recapitulated her commitment to serve the OIF aspirations and is all praises for the confidence and trust they’ve invested in her.

 

Reactions  

Besides her rare leadership qualities and experience, most prominent African leaders attributed Mushikiwabo’s victory to the unity Africa demonstrated for the first time in face of a challenge and believe all uphill challenges the continent faces can be solved with the creation of a united Africa. 

 

“This is an historic moment for all of us, Rwandans and Africans, who demonstrate once again that there are no insurmountable challenges in the face of a united and determined Africa. Congratulations to you, Louise Mushikiwabo,” tweeted President Paul Kagame.

 

“Thank you very much to all our African brothers and sisters who have supported us and to all the countries throughout the Francophonie who have placed their trust in our candidate,” the AU Chairperson added.

“It is with deep pride that I congratulate pres @PaulKagame, President of the @AfricanUnion in #Erevan upon the election of @LMushikiwabo as the new @OIFfrancophonie Secretary-General. When Africa speaks with one voice, we win! For #TheAfricaWeWant and a Francophony for all,” said Moussi Faki Fahamat, the Chairman of the Africa Union Commission.

 

“I am delighted that the African candidate @LMushikiwabo is elected by consensus and by acclamation. This demonstrates his qualities, experience, and leadership that are thus unanimously recognized by the family #francophone. I congratulate her,” he added.

 

“I look forward to seeing @LMushikiwabo's focus on driving a new narrative on a strong Africa and its determination to work for the employability of our youth,” said Sylvia Bongo Ondimba, the First Lady of Gabon. 

 

Many prominent world leaders outside the Continent proudly welcomed Mushikiwabo’s victory.

 

“The Embassy of France in Rwanda @ambafrancerwa congratulates the Minister @LMushikiwabo for his election as head of the International Organization of La Francophonie at the #EVN Summit18 as well as the entire Minaffet campaign team! # Francophonie2018” said the French Embassy to Rwanda.


 

 
 “24 years after the genocide that devastated Rwanda, Louise Mushikiwabo is appointed general secretary of the OIF.  What fate!” observed Anne-Laure Cattelot, a French legislator.

 
Dr. Peter Woeste, German Ambassador to Rwanda said: “Congratulations Honourable Minister @LMushikiwabo! An expression of the amazing worldwide reputation of you personally and also a great recognition of the role Rwanda plays internationally. #OIF Félicitations!”

 

Some political pundits saw French President, Emmanuel Macron’s support for the Rwandan candidate as an attempt to mend the diplomatic relations that have been wanting for the last 24 years due to France’s complicity in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, accusations France denies.


 

 

 

 

 

 

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