Ms Mushikiwabo, Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs, was appointed Secretary General by consensus at a closed meeting on the last day of the Yerevan Summit of the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF), a kind of mini-UN 84 states and governments.
The appointment will be regarded as a win for Rwanda, France and the African continent.
Rwanda and France who had fallen out over the latter’s role in the 1994 genocide in the East African nation, have pledged to resolve the differences and hostilities through bilateral meetings.
“Louise Mushikiwabo’s candidacy highlights development of the French-speaking community, and regarding differences with France, especially their role in the genocide against the Tutsi, we will discuss it during the bilateral relations,’‘ Olivier Nduhungirehe, Rwanda’s secretary of state, said in June as the country its leadership bid for La Francophonie.
Rwanda’s human rights record and a decision to replace French with English as the official language in 2008, were pointed out as issues that dent its leadership credentials.
In July, African francophone countries officially rallied behind Mushikiwabo, a position consistent with their policy of backing an African candidate sensitive to the needs of states that comprise more than half of the OIF membership.
Louise Mushikiwabo, a reliable diplomat
Louise Mushikiwabo, a multilingual speaker of French, English and Kinyarwanda, became Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs in December 2009, just days after the resumption of diplomatic relations with France.
The 57-year old is widely perceived to be a competent diplomat, who has worked tirelessly with president Paul Kagame to make Rwanda a major player on the global stage.
Mushikiwabo, who is not a member of the ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) party, says she is proud to have played a role in opening her country to the world, and specifically working towards Rwanda’s return to its “heritage of French-speaking Central Africa”.
“Since becoming Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rwanda has achieved a lot on the international scene, has a better international status,” says Frank Habineza, leader of the Green Democratic Party, the only authorized opposition party in Rwanda.
Mushikiwabo was head of communication at the African Development Bank in Tunis before Kagame asked her to join his government in March 2008 as Minister of Information.
Created in 1970 along lines blazed by the Commonwealth, the OIF brings together 58 countries and regional governments, representing 274 million speakers of French around the world.
Just months ago, the big name expected to be adopted in Erevan was the current OIF secretary general, Michaelle Jean -- a Canadian of Haitian descent who in 2014 became the first woman and non-African to helm the organisation.
But her fortunes changed in May when Kagame visited Paris.
After talks with Macron, he announced -- in English -- that his foreign minister would be seeking the leadership of the world's francophone community.
Macron declared his support, saying Mushikiwabo had "every quality for the job".
Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame tasked Delegates at the just concluded United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to change their perspective of Africa and…
Source: AfricaNews.com, http://en.rfi.fr/
Photo Credit: Ludovic MARIN / AFP