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WASTE OF RESOURCES: Tshisekedi, Leading A Country At War, Spends $30 Million On Francophone Games When Army Is Poorly Equipped

A UK Newspaper, the Guardian, has criticised the Democratic Republic of Congo for spending lavishly on holding the Francophone Gamea when its army is ill-equipped.

The Guardian highlights that the DRC is a country at war which should focus on bettering the security of the country and improving the economic outlook than spend millions of dollars on gamea.

THE ARTICLE BY THE GUARDIAN READS

With a joyous rumba-filled opening ceremony, the 10 days of Le Jeux de la Francophonie begin on Friday in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Staged every four years since 1989, and aimed at people aged 18 to 35 from French-speaking countries, the games include photography, dance and painting alongside weightlifting, running and cycling. It is presented as a utopian vision of a world where the French language is shared and not imposed – a fiction too many go along with.

“It is tough to get the resources to organise such events when you are a nation at war,” the DRC foreign minister, Christophe Lutundula, conceded last week. The Congolese government is said to have ploughed about US$30m (£23m) into staging the games, which will feature at least eight sports and 12 cultural events, involving 4,000 participants including top athletes from about 40 countries. Organisers hope the event will reach a global television audience of many millions.

Once the usual legacy promises about urban regeneration and sports participation are stripped away, though, are the games not an outdated waste of resources for a struggling country? What value does Francophonie have unless part of a genuine attempt to reckon with France’s subjugation and exploitation of black people and their land, and continued support of Africa’s strongmen such as Kagame?

Coined by the 19th-century French geographer and colonialist Onésime Reclus, the word Francophonie was the grand vision of the French colonial expansion. In his 1883 work, France, Algérie et Colonies, Reclus argued that France should concentrate on colonising Africa – a continent rich in natural resources, and where the overwhelming majority of the French-speaking population live today.

Reclus did such a good job of talking up French colonisation that at the end of the Berlin Conference in 1885, France took the largest slice of “the magnificent African cake”. In fact, until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, France was the only former colonial power that maintained and expanded its reach in Africa. Nearly half of African countries were at one time French colonies or protectorates.

As athletes from 40 Francophonie nations compete on track and field in the coming days, Congolese people are dying as a result of the fighting in DRC that couldn’t have continued to the extent it has done since 1998 without, in part, France’s actions.

DRC should have left Francophonie years ago, and cancelled the games in protest.

• Vava Tampa is a freelance writer.

CREDIT: Guardian UK

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