Expulsion of French envoy to Mali major blow to Paris influence in Africa
Political failure has followed military failure for France in the West African nation of Mali. After nearly a decade of war, a new military government has taken the popular decision of kicking out France’s ambassador.
France’s ambassador to Mali has been kicked out of the country in a major blow to the neocolonial sphere of influence known as Françafrique.
The reasons included undiplomatic language from Paris towards a new military government in the capital of Bamako, but also sanctions on Mali which have raised food prices and especially the failure of almost a decade of French-led war.
France first declared war in overwhelmingly-Muslim Mali without the United Nation’s approval, allegedly to fight religious extremists. Nine years later - with thousands dead and a million refugees - public opinion has turned massively against France.
Polls show that 80 percent of Malians in the capital think France was only there to defend French interests. It’s an opinion which Paris has tried to blame on Russian misinformation.
Public opinion is also reportedly strongly supportive of expelling the French ambassador as well as of the military.
The bold move by Mali comes just days after Burkina Faso’s military seized the heads of state even as French soldiers were on a mission in the country. In the past 18 months other revolts - in Guinea as well as Chad and Niger - have many wondering if France is losing its neocolonial hold on sub-Saharan Africa.
France’s military has stalled for time, saying a total military withdrawal from Mali will be discussed in the coming days.