An African priest has blamed Emmanuel Macron for “all the chaos in Cameroon” after the French president revealed last week he had orchestrated the release of political opposition leader Maurice Kamto from jail.
Mr. Macron told a Cameroonian activist in France that he had put pressure on Cameroon’s president Paul Biya to release Kamto and other opposition leaders from prison, warning he wouldn’t welcome a visit From Biya in Lyon until the leader was liberated.
“I told Biya we must not meet in Lyon if Kamto is not released. He was freed because we put pressure,” Macron told the activist.
According to Cameroonian priest Father Roman Kisi, Macron’s quid pro quo revealed that France still looks upon much of Africa as a French colony and its leaders as mere “stooges” of the French government.
“My interpretation of Macron’s statement is that he is responsible for all the chaos in Cameroon because if he has ordered Kamto’s release and is now pressuring President Biya to release other political prisoners, it means that African leaders like Paul Biya are stooges,” Father Kisi told Crux, an online Catholic news agency.
Macron’s words show we are still “a colonized people,” Kisi said, “we in Cameroon and all French-speaking African countries.”
The priest also criticized the fact that France is credited with being “the largest exporter of tropical wood,” despite the fact that it is not in the tropics, meaning that France continues to exploit Africa’s resources.
According to Crux, “France has remained more intimately linked with its former African possessions, with a history of propping up regimes with French military might and exerting financial control through the CFA Franc, currencies used in 14 countries.”
Father Kisi said that these monetary ties to France have kept African countries in poverty, noting that “amongst African countries with a high standard of living, there is none that uses the [CFA Franc].”
“We can’t compete with Nigeria — they have their own separate currency,” the priest said. “We can’t compete with our East African neighbors because they have their cedes, the shilling, the kwacha etc … so they stand a better chance of marketing their money.”
“What happens in the French former colonial territories? Their continued use of the CFA Franc, is not in their best economic interests,” he said.