The tempo is high in the Congolese capital Kinshasa as the countdown closes in to the ninth Games of La Francophonie scheduled from July 28 to August 6.
However, Louise Mushikiwabo a Rwandan national who is also Secretary General of the La Francophonie organisation has not been invited to attend.
Oria Vande Weghe the spokesperson for the secretary general of the OIF revealed on Tuesday 25 July that the DRC had announced last June that a “formal invitation would be sent to Louise Mushikiwabo by the Congolese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. And since then, that invitation has never been sent.”
“Unfortunately, this is confusing and has prompted the Secretary General to reconsider her trip,” she added.
Peter Kazadi, the Interior Minister of Democratic Republic of Congo announced last Monday security measures had been taken to ensure the success of these games and that Louise Mushikiwabo would be “welcome” and well “secured”.
Oria Vande Weghe also announced that Louise Mushikiwabo will be represented by the administrator of the International Organization of La Francophonie, Quebecer Caroline St-Hilaire.
According to Ministry of Sports in France, the games will allow nearly 2,500 young talents from francophone countries, aged 18 to 35, from the 88 states and governments of La Francophonie, to compete in sports and cultural events, all in a spirit of fairness, of solidarity, excellence and responsibility.
These Games of La Francophonie will be an important milestone for France’s organization of the XIX Sommet de la Francophonie, which France will host in the fall of 2024.
‘Through these unprecedented alliances between sport and culture, we share the values of an open, plural and supportive Francophonie,” says Rima Abdul Malak, Minister of Culture,France.
However, DRC faces criticisms for poor security and this is a major setback for organizers of the 10-day Jeux de la Francophonie, which had already been pushed back two years from 2021 to bring infrastructure up to international standards.
Both Canada’s Quebec and Belgium’s French-speaking Wallonia have cut back on athletes.
Around 4,500 additional police backed by state security agents have been deployed ahead of the event, said Isidor Kwanja, the game’s coordinator.
Athletes will be personally escorted by the police and their accommodation has been fitted with surveillance cameras.