Africa’s Independence: the case of Gabon’s Presidential Election 2016

gabonAbout 6 years ago, most African countries, particularly those in Francophone Africa, celebrated 50 years of independence. Yes… we were all told how many of them fought for their independence, how some of our forefathers bled to death, were killed, to get a chance to march proudly as Africans. We all cheered, and proclaimed ourselves independent. Then, a few months later, starting on 16 December 2010, the light shined on our “dependence”. On that fateful day of 11 April 2011, when the French army bombed the presidential palace of Cote d’Ivoire (and had been bombing all state institutions for over 10 days without any UN mandate and no declaration of war) and dragged its president and first lady in front of the world like mere criminals. In February 2011, NATO and the UN issued an order to bomb Libya and its institutions because Kadhafi was supposedly killing its people… They bombed Libya, killed, and uprooted its people. Today, 5 years later, the people of Gabon are now witnesses to their “obvious dependence” to France. Yes… you heard me right: these countries with that slave currency called FCFA are vassals of France, and today more than ever it has been made clear to us. “Vassals” you asked? “How come? we are independent?”… well, explain to me why a sovereign country with laws, institutions, and a constitution, will not be able to handle elections without meddling from France as was the case in Cote d’Ivoire in 2010 and currently in Gabon in 2016.

gabon3After I heard the French prime minister tell the Gabon president that he needed to have the elections recounted “bureau de vote par bureau de vote”, I thought: could the president of any African country ask the French people to recount their elections? Could the president of any African country tell the French president that he needs to pack his bags and let someone sit on his seat because he did not win the elections fair and square? Well, for starters, elections in Europe, and in America are usually won in the 50-55% range, and nobody says: “the country is divided in the middle”. Second of all, no candidate proclaims himself president before the results of the elections are announced by the constitutional court or supreme court of the country, like we just saw in Gabon. Third, no African ambassador to a European country or the African union calls the headquarters of the opponent or drags the person supposed to read the elections’ results to a hotel the day/hour he is supposed to read (Cote d’Ivoire 2010, where the French and US ambassadors took Mr. to Hotel Ivoire, headquarters of the opponent to read the results of an election). Fourth, nobody, and I mean nobody, goes to TV to issue warning to Bush or Gore to let go because they lost or won. Nobody sullies the constitution of another country. However, for the past 6 years, we have seen the constitutions of African countries being trampled upon by France, the European Union, NATO, and the US. Now, during hurricane Katrina when countless Americans were dying and their government was not raising a finger, did we Africans bomb their land? Did anybody go to the UN security council and say this is outrageous? Did anybody even talk? Did we interfere in that country’s government, and laws? In November 2015 when there was a terrorist attack in France, did the UN security council say to Francois Hollande: “you are destroying that country, your security is not tough enough, basta … we will take it from here”? NO

Libreville today
Libreville today

SO now when I hear French ministers having a say in the Gabonese elections, and some French journalists telling us “prior to these elections, Ali Bongo reached out to the Americans, looking for a rupture with France, how dare he?” I say “are we really independent?”


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