US News DRC: Mike "Amani" Hammer, a shocking American ambassador

15:25  08 october  2020
15:25  08 october  2020 Source:   parismatch.com

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Michael A. Hammer (born December 26, 1963) is a United States career diplomat who was the United States Ambassador to Chile. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on March 6, 2014 and sworn in on March 7, 2014.

Ambassador Mike Hammer presented his credential to President Joseph Kabila and assumed full duties as U.S. Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of In the official Livre d’or, Ambassador Hammer wrote: It is a deep honor and privilege to represent the United States as Ambassador to the

L'ambassadeur des États-Unis en République démocratique du Congo, Mike Hammer, s'adresse à des journalistes le 5 octobre 2020, lors d'une visite à Beni, dans l'est du pays. © Sebastien Kitsa Musayi The United States ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mike Hammer, addresses reporters on October 5, 2020, during 'a visit to Beni, in the east of the country.

He is American, he tweets often and his messages do not go unnoticed: the United States Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mike Hammer, leads a very active diplomacy, bordering on interference accuse some, in the most large country in sub-Saharan Africa.

L'ambassadeur des États-Unis en République démocratique du Congo, Mike Hammer, le 5 octobre 2020, lors d'une visite à Beni, dans l'est du pays, déchiré par les violences. © Sebastien Kitsa Musayi The United States Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mike Hammer, on October 5, 2020, during a visit to Beni, in the east of the country, torn by violence.

A few days ago, Mike Hammer, 56, added to his Twitter profile the word "Amani", peace in Swahili, the language spoken in eastern DRC.

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One way of making it known that he was on tour in the two eastern provinces of North and South Kivu, where armed groups massacre civilians, such as the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), in Beni.

"Listening to the inhabitants, it is clear that more must be done (against insecurity)", he told AFP without the usual oratorical precautions of diplomats.

In Beni (North Kivu), the ambassador active on all fronts noted that the Congolese army "lacked means" in the face of the ADF and that it had to "get rid of its corrupt officers".

He concluded his tour on Tuesday in Goma with a meeting with Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi, who "asked the United States and the international community to help him restore peace and security in eastern DRC ".

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Shocking footage of a brawl in Leeds in the middle of the street. Wooden planks and hammers were used to hit the man inn the silver Mercedes, as neighbours watched the fight and cheered. At the end, his back car window is smashed.

This is a constant for the American envoy, accredited in the DRC just before the presidential election in December 2018: supporting President Tshisekedi, who governs in a fragile coalition with his predecessor Joseph Kabila.

- "Interference" and "activism" -

Mid-September, it was Mike "Elikia" Hammer who was on tour in the north-west of the DRC in Mbandaka, where a new Ebola epidemic is raging: Elikia means hope in Lingala, a language spoken in the west of the country.

From this visit with his Canadian and British colleagues, the Ambassador came back very upset against the "Ebola business", pointing to the misappropriation of aid allocated to the fight against the epidemic, largely financed by Washington.

"President Tshisekedi and his government have asked us to help him fight corruption," he said.

Mr. Hammer also applauded with both hands when President Tshisekedi dismissed in July an officer under US sanctions, John Numbi, suspected of being behind the murder of a human rights activist in 2010.

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Close of former President Kabila, the presidents of the two chambers denounced in mid-September "the interference" and "the activism" of certain diplomats accredited to Kinshasa, without naming names.

"When I travel across the country, the Congolese always ask for the support of the United States and appreciate our contributions," said the American ambassador to AFP. "But it appears that some within the old + establishment + politics are determined to cling to power for personal financial gain, and try to hide behind arguments of nationalism or accusations of foreign interference."

"It's courageous but it exposes it", appreciates another diplomat in Kinshasa. Understand: the American ambassador takes the risk of being identified with a camp, that of Mr. Tshisekedi, against the friends of Mr. Kabila, who want his return to power in 2023.

"Contrary to what some say in the Kabila movement, he is not a free electron. I believe that Mike Hammer is very supported by the State Department, "says an observer.

- "It makes Trump forget" -

While Africa has never been a priority for President Trump, "the DRC remains an important and strategic country", says its ambassador in Kinshasa, who underlines the "potential" of the country in agricultural or hydroelectric matters.

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This is the first post in Africa for Mike Hammer, who is the namesake of the famous badass private detective, created by Mickey Spillane and played on television by Stacy Keach. Until now, it has been more oriented towards Latin America and Scandinavia.

From a Spanish mother, perfectly bilingual, he was Ambassador to Chile (2014-2016), after responsibilities at the White House during the first term of Barack Obama (special assistant to the president, spokesperson for the National Security Council) .

His own father, an American aid worker, was killed in El Salvador when he was 17: "My father was working to promote land reform, but far-right interest groups who wanted to hang on to their privileges cut short his life".

On the occasion of the death of George Floyd, an African-American suffocated by a policeman, the American ambassador had affirmed that he shared "the pain, the anger, the indignation" of the Congolese, in unison with the worldwide movement "Black lives matter".

"The system has failed to protect one of our citizens as it has too often done against so many African Americans," he admitted in a statement, when President Trump refused to condemn police violence.

"He is very strong: he is totally loyal to his administration, and he makes Trump forget in the DRC", judges an observer.

Mike Hammer recalls that he worked at the White House under three administrations (Clinton, Bush and Obama). He will undoubtedly remain in Kinshasa regardless of the outcome of the November 4 election.

st / bmb / thm

Beginning of the trial of the jihadist attacker with the hammer of Notre-Dame in 2017 .
© Martin BUREAU Police in front of a security cordon after a hammer attack by a jihadist assailant in front of Notre-Dame, on June 6, 2017 in Paris The assize trial of Farid Ikken, the Algerian student who attacked police officers with a hammer in front of Notre-Dame in June 2017 after pledging allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) group, opened Monday in Paris.

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