Last Wednesday, a group of military men seized power in Gabon. The coup was carried out in protest against the official results of the elections, which showed that the French-backed President Ali Bongo won the elections again.
Ali Bongo is the son of former President Omar Bongo who came to power in the oil-rich Central African country in 1967. When Omar Bongo died in 2009, Ali Bongo became president.
Both Omar and Ali Bongo was closely allied with both former colonial power France and the United States, but Ali Bongo also turned east. Last year, Ali Bongo visited Joe Biden at the White House, and earlier this year he visited Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing — now under house arrest at his private residence.
In a video clip from his captivity, Ali Bongo called for “making a noise” for his freedom. But, as Al Jazeera noted, people took to the streets of the capital and sang the national anthem – but in honor of the coup plotters and in celebration of the overthrow of the president.
old colonial master France condemned the coup, as did Britain, the United States and other countries. European Union Foreign Minister Josep Borrell expressed himself more cautiously, not wanting to compare the coup to the one that took place in Niger a month ago.
Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, called for calm and dialogue between the parties and a peaceful solution to the crisis.
France has it around 400 troops in Gabon to protect French interests in the mining and oil industries. More than 80 French companies are active in the country, which is the world’s second largest producer of manganese, which is used in the manufacture of electric cars.
However, Gabon’s largest trading partner is China, which buys oil from Gabon and at the same time invests in greening the oil-dependent economy. Gabon is also part of the giant Chinese project BRI, the New Silk Road.
Despite the greatness of Gabon Oil, the population is poor, unemployment is high, while the presidential family has enriched itself. 15 years ago, the French police discovered in a corruption investigation that the Bongo family owned 39 properties and had 70 bank accounts in France.
Among other things, Ali Bongo is also said to have imported artificial snow for the Christmas celebrations at the presidential palace in the capital, Libreville, which is located almost on the equator and has an average temperature of about 26 degrees.
The military coup is just The latest in a series of former French colonies. On 26 July, a group of soldiers in Niger’s presidential guard seized power after overthrowing the pro-French President Mohamed Bazoum, following coups in recent years in Mali, Guinea and Chad.
– This is the kind of coup that you have to support, that puts an end to the usurpation of the nation, says Gabon-born, New York-based writer Daniel Manjara to Democracy Now.
in the same programme French journalist Thomas Deltombe believes that the independence of the former colonies from France was never complete, but rather was followed by a new colonial relationship.
– I think we may be witnessing a second process of independence, a new process of decolonization, says Thomas Deltombe, the book’s editor The Empire That Doesn’t Want to Die – A Franco-African History (The empire that refused to die – the story of French Africa).
Military Council in Gabon He appointed General Olegoy Nguema as the country’s interim president.
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