PRETORIA – The Commander in Chief of the Economic Freedom Fighters, Julius Malema, together with the leadership of the EFF, led the march from the front to the French Embassy on Wednesday in Pretoria for the withdrawal of France from the African continent. The march started from the Magnolia Dell Park in Brooklyn, east of Pretoria to the embassy.
Buses, taxis and private cars of EFF ground forces piled up at the Dell Park in support of the picket and to show other African countries that the EFF is with them throughout.
There was a delay in starting the official programme of the picket because Malema said they would start with the programme until someone from the embassy showed up to receive the memorandum. “We are not going anywhere until someone comes to receive our memorandum,” he said.
In the opening remarks, Malema said they condemn all the manifestations of colonialism and neocolonialism in the entire African continent. “We, as a generation of Freedom Fighters, reject and condemn the fact that decades after the declaration of the so-called independence of formerly colonised territories ”colonisers continue to maintain colonial and neo-colonial relationships with African countries which are supposed to be free from colonial control,“ he said.
He added that the British, Portuguese, Belgian, Spanish and French colonisers continue to brutally exploit, oppress and micromanage all the countries they colonised many decades ago. He further stated that French colonialism across the African continent continues to be the most brutal, cruel and devilish form of colonialism in Africa.
Malema mentioned that when countries under French colonial rule declared political independence, the French government destroyed and damaged all the systems and infrastructure that were developed through African resources and labour power because they wanted to retain total control of all the former colonies.
“The French colonial governments destroyed everything they were unable to loot back to their country after independence. The French colonialists burned food, killed cows, and destroyed buildings and books.
“The former colonies of the French regime such as Gabon, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, Congo-Brazzaville, Ivory Coast, Chad, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, and Guinea-Bissau continue to use the French currency and their monetary policies are dictated by the French Central Bank,” he said.
During the delivery address, the EFF leader outlined what the main aim of the picket was. He fully read all their demands to the French person who was ordered to receive the memorandum.
However, African people from countries such as Ambazonia (Southern Cameroons), Mali, as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo were seen at the picket in support of the EFF to remove France from the African continent. Mohammed Yehia Dicko of Mali said he stands in front of Africans with tears in his eyes.
“Fighters, if you know what is happening in DRC, it’s shameful; it’s not a secret that all countries in Africa that speak French, the administration is wrong because of the wrong politics of France. I am from the east of DRC. What is happening there is the killing of maybe 5 000 people a day and no one is saying anything about it,” he said.
Furthermore, messages of support from the Malian and Ambazonia were that they support the EFF in everything it does and will do to make sure that the French colonists are out of Africa.
Meanwhile, the demands that Malema read out to the EFF supporters and the French Embassy representatives were:
1. France must grant full independence to all African countries and allow them to determine their own currencies, monetary policies, and economic direction.
2. France must stop all colonial taxes because it is the wealth of the African continent and the blood and sweat of Africans that built all the infrastructure that African countries are forced to pay for many decades after the so-called independence.
3. France must immediately remove all of its military bases that are stationed in Africa. This includes, but is not limited to, military bases, French soldiers, French aid through arms, and any presence of French influence in the armies or militia groups in Africa.
4. France must desist from interfering in the economic affairs of African countries through monetary policy and the usage of their currency in West Africa must gradually decrease towards establishing currency systems determined by Africans themselves.
5. France must return all mineral or fiscal reserves held by the French Treasury to African nations and any of their former colonies.
6. France must pay reparations to all of its former colonies, particularly the architects of the greatest slave rebellion known to humanity, Haiti. Haiti has had its development stunted by a racist global world order, which feared African independence and the first black-led state.
7. The removal of French as an official language in Africa, in favour of a continental reconstruction of African identity, away from the imposition of white civilisation standards and norms as a measure of humanity.
8. France must stop its sponsorship of divisions that occur in Africa’s continental multilateral institutions, particularly the Pan African Parliament and the African Union.
Malema said they are giving the French Embassy 14 days to respond to their memorandum of demands. “If there is no believable and practical response within the 14 days, we will, as the leadership of the EFF, outline a clear and practical programme on how we will undermine and counter France’s continued colonisation of the African continent,” he said. –