Congolese are not happy about the visit of the French president to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
French president, Emmanuel Macron, arrived on Friday evening, but not everyone is happy about his visit.
They want him to support sanctions against Rwanda who they blame for ongoing the war in the east. The newspaper headlines tell it all, with one even calling him a persona non grata.
“Let’s welcome Macron, let him give his speech, let him give us advice to end the war in the East. Besides, we don’t only need Macron to put an end to the war, we need to equip our army with all possible capabilities,” said Alpha Ngandu who is a seller in Kinshasa.
Civil servant Charles is less accommodating.
“Let him stop supporting our aggressors, period. We like the French, but they don’t like us, I’m really sorry, I’m against the arrival of Macron,” he said.
Ahead of the his visit, some 150 NGOs called for France to condemn what is widely seen as support by Rwanda for M23 rebels fighting in the east.
In a text published by in the press, they said he should “support the call for sanctions” against Kigali, and “help the DRC to organise its legitimate defence”.
“This visit is part of a situation where the Congolese people would like France end a certain ambiguity with regards to Rwanda. Western countries, notably the United States, have been very clear in their articulation of Rwanda’s responsibility in the aggression that the DRC has suffered via the M23,” said Hervé Diakese, a lawyer and human rights defender.
The militia, which took up arms at the end of 2021, have conquered large swathes of territory in the eastern DRC province of North Kivu and remain on the offensive despite diplomatic initiatives to try to resolve the conflict.
Kinshasa has accused Kigali of backing the mostly Congolese Tutsi group, a charge that is disputed by Kigali but has been confirmed by UN experts and denounced by several Western countries.
The French president was in Angola on Friday morning and travelled to Congo Brazzaville in the afternoon, before heading to Kinshasa in the evening, where he will spend the whole day on Saturday.