The die is cast and now it’s a foregone conclusion after Canada and Quebec threw their lot behind the candidature of Louise Mushikiwabo to head Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).
Canada’s support, and indeed Quebec’s, are significant as the incumbent, Michaëlle Jean, is Canadian and grew up in the latter province.
The numbers were already in favour of Mushikiwabo when Africa as a bloc pledged its support. The Rwandan candidate’s protracted campaigns, coupled with Jean’s alleged disastrous financial management, helped to tip the scales.
Some sections of French-speaking groups had made it their mission to scuttle Mushikiwabo’s election. They embarked on campaigns that sometimes reached hysterical levels. Most of the people spearheading the de-campaigning belonged to the old French generation who decades ago called the shots in Francophone countries – especially in Africa.
Today the tables have turned; former French colonies have refused to remain vassal states and discovered the power of speaking with one voice: the African voice.
The whole process of choosing the head of OIF has brought out the best in Africa by exercising the continent’s rediscovered solidarity, the power of pooling its strengths for the common good
African countries first displayed the power of unity when they threw their weight behind a single African candidate for the post of Director-General of the World Health Organisation. The African vote is the single most important reason that former Ethiopian Foreign Minister, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, ran away with the victory.
History seems to be repeating itself in Yerevan this week, but Africa cannot afford to sit on its laurels for not everyone is happy with this new ONE Africa. They will do all it takes to undermine the new unity. Countering all those broadside attacks will only need for Africa to stay the course.