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Isidore Kwandja: « Tshisekedi has still not appointed his personal representative to the Francophonie »

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Isidore Kwandja: "Tshisekedi has still not appointed his personal representative to the Francophonie"

TRIBUNE – As is customary in the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF), all Member Heads of State and Government, immediately elected, appoint their Personal Representatives to the Francophonie to ensure the follow-up and implementation of the resolutions and recommendations adopted by them at the Francophonie Summit, which takes place every two years.

Generally, Member Heads of State and Government meet only every two years to discuss the future of the Organization and define the main strategic orientations that guide the action of the Secretary General of La Francophonie. It is the personal representatives of the Heads of State and Government who meet regularly in ordinary session of the Permanent Council of La Francophonie (CPF) or even in extraordinary session when there is a worrying situation affecting one of the member countries.

The CPF is therefore the body empowered to ensure the proper functioning of the Organization, in compliance with the policies, programmes and budgets defined, in particular the implementation of all decisions taken by the Ministerial Conference of La Francophonie (CMF), the examination of the political situation and the monitoring of the state of democracy, human rights and civil liberties practices in the Francophone world.

Almost ten months after taking office, President Tshisekedi has still not appointed his Personal Representative to the Francophonie to oversee the strategic interests of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which is also the largest French-speaking country in the world, given its considerable numerical size and demographic weight.

Moreover, in an interview given in December 2018 to B-One TV Congo’s « Debriefing » hosted by journalist Mamina Masengo, Ambassador Isabel Machik Ruth Tshombe, who had been appointed to this position since 2000, makes this very clear:

« All this will depend first and foremost on the choice of the next President of the Republic, because it is at his discretion to choose who will represent him. But on the other hand, I think I did the Nation a favour, I did the work that was asked of me. And, if you really have to choose between the Francophonie and working for Lualaba, I think I would be much more useful in Lualaba. But I simply believe that we must also know how to leave and we must also prepare the next generation. Because in our country, that’s what’s a little unfortunate, when I started in the Francophonie, I didn’t even get any postponements, so I had to do the research myself, do the work to finally structure the Office of the Commissioner and have the right people in the right place. So I must also be able to accompany the person who will replace me. And then, of course, I would be happy to do so, because a country only evolves well when you can keep the chain going. You can’t sclerose yourself to a position, Francophonie is me, it’s Isabel Tshombe, no. I am here, it was Laurent Désiré Kabila who put me in charge of La Francophonie when I was the Deputy Minister for Regional Cooperation. I was in charge of the Francophonie and I was a personal representative since 2000. I believe in a good little soldier, I even did the right thing. It is time to move on ».

This great lady, who has served her country for nearly 20 years in the Francophonie, is only asking for one thing, to find a replacement and give her the opportunity to take up other challenges facing the country.

There is therefore an urgent need for the President of the Republic to appoint his Personal Representative for the Francophonie, especially since the DRC, by agreeing to organize the Games of La Francophonie in 2021, will have to work hard to catch up and ensure that these Games are held in good conditions.

So that means it shouldn’t be a risky choice. President Tshisekedi will have to choose a person in whom he trusts, but a person with a very good knowledge of the Organization, of the work carried out by it and who is familiar with the mysteries of Francophone diplomacy. A person who demonstrates a particular interest in the proper functioning of the Francophonie.

However, it is important to mention that regardless of its considerable numerical size and demographic weight, which make it the first French-speaking country in the world, the DRC has very little influence within the OIF. The countries that exercise considerable influence and authority are those that occupy strategic positions in this Organization.

Thus, by the nature of the functions they occupy within the organization’s organizational chart, they guide IFM’s action in the interests of national strategic interests.

To date, there is no Congolese national holding a management position, neither in the various directorates of the central administration in Paris, nor in the four Permanent Representations to the United Nations in New York and Geneva, the European Union in Brussels and the African Union in Addis Ababa, nor in the Regional Offices across the five continents, nor in the Organization’s subsidiary bodies and not even in the Office of the Secretary General of La Francophonie.

The Personal Representative will also have to play the role of special adviser to the President of the Republic in charge of all matters relating, directly or indirectly, to La Francophonie, in order to better provide him with regular and timely advice, opinions and considerations and to ensure that the DRC can take an active part in the various programmes implemented within the OIF.

Isidore KWANDJA NGEMBO, Politilogue

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