The only candidate for her own succession, the Rwandan Louise Mushikiwabo will keep her post as secretary general of La Francophonie next November.
The former Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs and current Secretary General of the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF), Louise Mushikiwabo, has been smiling for a few days. And for good reason, candidate for her own succession, the Rwandan should return for a new term at the head of the OIF.
On August 23, when nominations closed, Louise Mushikiwabo knew that she would be sure to be re-elected. The only candidate in the running, she will be auditioned during an extraordinary session of the Ministerial Conference of La Francophonie (CMF) on October 6 before being logically elected on November 20, at the Djerba Summit, Tunisia.
In 2018, a controversial election
Four years after his arrival at the head of the OIF, this re-election represents a new diplomatic victory for Rwanda. The country of Paul Kagame has sought, in recent years, by all means, to increase its influence in Africa, but also in the world. When he won in 2018, Mushikiwabo had been the subject of intense lobbying by Kigali. The victory against the Canadian Michaëlle Jean was only a formality.
And the worries of 2018 should give way to less negative repercussions for the Rwandan, because she is the only candidate. Because at the time, the election of a Rwandan personality at the head of the OIF had not really been well seen within the French-speaking international community.
Because Louise Mushikiwabo, before carrying the OIF, was Paul Kagame's Minister of Foreign Affairs, from 2009 to 2018. Nine years during which she carried the Rwandan discourse internationally. However, "by carrying Rwandan foreign policy for years, it is totally identified with a regime that defies many of the founding principles of the Francophonie", summarized Le Monde in 2018.
Tracking and arrests of opponents, even executions… Kagame's regime is indeed far from the image it sends back. Moreover, to elect Louise Mushikiwabo, under pressure from its partners, including France, Kigali had released 2 political prisoners in September 000.
Rwanda's big gap between Commonwealth and OIF
Another grievance against Rwanda: this country no longer really stands out in the defense of the French language. And for good reason, English became in 2003 one of the three official languages of Rwanda. Above all, the language of Shakespeare replaced French in 2010 in its role as the language of schooling.
In 2018, Louise Mushikiwabo had enjoyed almost unconditional support from Paris, which was trying to reconnect with Paul Kagame after three years of rupture between France and Rwanda.
Today, the Rwandan situation is not necessarily better, in terms of democracy, than it was then. But between Paris and Kigali, relations have largely warmed up. Still, the situation that arises is quite comical: when Rwanda takes over the rotating presidency of the Commonwealth, for the next two years, the OIF is also headed by a Rwandan.
"By hosting the Commonwealth summit while a Rwandan woman heads the OIF, Paul Kagame is moving the lines of geopolitics in Africa", sums up the Rwandan academic Jean-Pierre Karegeye. The Rwandan president has in any case perfectly learned to navigate between the former colonial powers that are France and the United Kingdom.