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Fifty Years of “Independence”: The rhetoric of Sarkozy and (Omar) Ali Bongo

March 11, 2010

Several countries across Africa including Cameroon are presently celebrating what is referred to as fifty years of “independence”. On February 24, 2010 it was the turn of Gabon, which also invited colonial master France. I listened with curiosity to the French President, Nicolas Paul Stéphane Sarkozy and Gabonese ruler (Omar) Ali Ben Bongo Ondimba.

In his brief toast, Sarkozy tacitly admitted that the neo colonial forces in Gabon and the rest of Africa have been partly responsible for the underdevelopment of the continent. According to him, a chapter is closed a new page turned. Remember, just immediately after his accession to power, he made such utterances when he talked of “rupture total” with hitherto former French colonies. (Omar) Ali Bongo likewise acknowledged in his own toast that indeed, a new page has opened. Such admissions concur to the fact that Gabon just like most African countries will not progress as expected unless the neo colonial strings are cut.

This is no blame game. Africans can do it but, the complex set of its leadership which promotes petty and grand corruption, foreign against national interest is the big set back.

As stated by Sarkozy, France is now for a relation of total transparency. What kind of transparency with regards to the operation of French companies in the African. For example, the French business politician cum lobbyist, Vincent Bollore, an ally of Sarkozy, practically controls the economy of most Francophone African countries. He virtually owns the Douala Seaport and a Cameroonian manager who opposed the privatization of some sections of the port to Bollore’s group; he was fired from his post. The circumstances under which several state companies were auctioned to his group and many others foreign “buyers” are very opaque and need total renegotiation.

What kind of transparency when French banks keep billions of stolen state from Africa. The French government is again squashing court cases brought against some African dictators who have illicit funds and property in the country.

Sarkozy talked of equality and mutual respect. This has never been the case as France continues to show total disrespect for Africans among whom are those who sacrificed their lives to safe France during WWII. While Sarközy verbally praised the veterans, French veterans continue to live in total affluence and veneration while African veterans continue to languish in misery. The French men even talked of some Gabonese military men going march-past in France as sign of cooperation. Africans do not need such displays.

Mr Sarkozy equally reiterated that France will never interfere in issues of African countries but that has not been the case. Though he challenged anybody to prove that France had its candidate during the parody of elections in Gabon, he failed to note that France quietly sent in 300 paratroopers to Gabon when the late Gabonese dictator Omar Bongo was about to die. The French president cannot be talking of non interference in a country’s affairs yet maintaining arm forces in all its “former” colonies. These forces are a direct threat to the population. A clear case was the killing of unarmed Ivoirians (in their own country) when they rose against French interference in their country.

The French have always played double standards. They are now lobbying their International Court of (Selective) Justice at The Hague to charge the junta in Guinea for massacring civilians. Judging criminals is not bad though, but, the same French government and other western countries stayed quiet after the Cameroon government massacred civilians in February 2008 during a protest that rocked the country. The role of the French in the Rwandan genocide was denounced by current Rwandan government thought though France continues to deny any involvement.

Inasmuch as African civilian and military dictators continue to collaborate with most western countries for the expropriation of resources, the latter and its affiliated bodies will never see them as evil. These accomplices should leave with their troops so that we can handle these regimes. Such duplicity has harmed us so much.

One of the scars of the Franco-Africa neo-colonial relationship is the nonsense called France-Afrique which was indeed hailed by (Omar) Ali Bongo as a strong heritage during the event. Yet, Bongo is talking of change. Africans need to get up for veritable transformation not the misguided event which happened in the 60s and Harold Macmillan erroneously took it for a wind of change.

 

Things Africans should ask themselves

After 50 years, less than 15 percent of the population of each country is covered by social security.

After 50 years of horrible health services, African leaders, family and allies continue to fly out for treatment.

After 50 years, there is no kilometre of tarred road without potholes.

After 50 years, companies producing raw material have not been able to move to the stage of producing finished goods.

After 50 years of so called technical schools, not even a spinner, bridge, fly over, an appliance have been produced.

After 50 years, most African countries have seen less than 3 leaders each; Cameroon (2).

After 50 years, some countries have had more than 6 coup d’états.

After 50 years, some presidents continue to manipulate the constitution to stay for life.

After 50 years our borders remain open for clinical trials and “vaccines” which have instead caused havoc and spread diseases.

After 50 years, police, taxation, custom officials continue to extort the population.

After 50 years, many companies have closed down than it was 50 years ago.

After 50 years, most African leaders continue to connive with foreigners and companies to destroy their people.

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well written blog. Im glad that I could find more info on this. thanks
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Human rights abuse in Africa is endemic, nepotism on a rise,tribalism and barbarism order of the day,corruption almost institutionalise with Presidents almost having a Life mandate. These issues are troubling for all who love Africa. Most of these leaders need to face trial even while in office for the hardship they have brought to the continent. Africa needs a new generation of thinkers and patriots who will come in to work for a sustainable development and democracy. that will mean us changing strategy in doing this business of Politics.
A concerned African. MWalimu



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