Congolese papers dwell on Diouf's election to head OIF

Brazzaville- Congo (PANA) -- Tuesday newspapers in Brazzaville dwelt at length on last Sunday's election of former Senegalese President Abdou Diouf as secretary general of the International Organisation of the Francophonie (OIF) and the last minute withdrawal of Congo's Henri Lopès.
"Congolese writer, Henri Lopès, who was the first declared candidate for this position withdrew shortly before the election to protest against the opaque conditions of the election," writes the independent weekly 'Tam-Tam d'Afrique.
' According to the paper, Lopes' withdrawal was foreseeable "because observers had a predicted the victory of the former Senegalese head of state.
" "On the basis of the historical links between France and Senegal and the special relationship between Jacques Chirac and Diouf, the French president is reported to have tilted the balance in favour of Diouf," Tam-Tam d'Afrique notes.
The paper adds however that some Congolese intellectuals were revolted by the French-imposed consensus to designate Senegal as head of the Francophonie.
The independent weekly's conclusion is that "it is crystal clear that the Francophonie is only what France wants it to be.
" "While it is true and obvious that France is the first Francophone country in the world by virtue of its population and its strength, one should not forget that Francophonie is first and foremost a community of men sharing the French language," it points out.
On its part, the pro-government weekly, L'Eléphant writes that through Lopes' failure to win the post, the central Africa has paid "the price of its chequered democracy and the absence of good governance within countries of the sub-region.
" "The failure of Lopès is due to the dependence of all our leaders vis-à-vis France," the weekly adds, wondering "How could Congo present its candidate against the one put forward by France, a country our leaders have chosen as their second home?" "By placing the Gabonese president against the wall, France expressed its preference for West Africa, for the former colonial power imposes its views," L'Eléphant concludes.
Le Choc, another pro-government weekly estimates that the summit in Beirut had exposed the extent to which African heads of state were still manipulated from outside.
"At the heart of all the decisions, it is France which interferes and imposes its opinion," Le Choc says, affirming that it is not difficult to understand why France imposed Diouf rather than Henri Lopès.
"By authorising Diouf's candidature, Senegal and its West African allies have undermined the collegiality of Francophone states," Le Choc adds.
"The shame of our heads of state who never kept their word is the tacit expression of our continent's regression," concludes the paper.
"That Chirac subtly ditches Sassou Nguesso in favour of Abdoulaye Wade, there is need to raise questions today on the state of relations between Brazzaville and Paris, writes Le Defi Africain, another pro-government weekly.
"Through Chirac's silence and the way the French media treated the event, one easily understand that Paris no longer has its heart in Brazzaville, the capital of free France.
" Le Défi Africain concludes that on this major issue, the motherland scrutinised the archives and discovered that Léopold Sédar Senghor, an MP of the French National Assembly in 1946, participated in the government of Edgar Faure in 1955 before becoming an eternal member of the French Academy.

22 october 2002 21:31:00




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