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Thursday, October 11, 2018

Electoral jokes in Françafrique: the example of Gabon and Cameroon

Last weekend, two "democracies" of Central Africa gave themselves up to an electoral simulacrum: first round of the legislative and local elections Saturday, October 5 in Gabon, presidential election with a single turn the next day in Cameroon.

In Gabon, the political crisis opened by the electoral heist fomented by Ali Bongo in August 2016 is still unresolved. It is coupled with an economic and social crisis characterized by repeated strikes or the non-payment of wages of many workers for several months ... The opponent Jean Ping proclaims himself still "elected president" but remains powerless to assert his rights . After having bet on the international community to make recognize its legitimacy it had to be disillusioned. The European Parliament has debated the Gabonese post-election situation and voted a motion condemning the Gabonese state, but we know how little power this institution has over the Council of the European Union where France can exercise its right of veto . The old metropolis was a little disheartened at first in the face of the rudeness of the electoral fraud and the violence used against the popular anger, a little too obvious to the taste of the delicate Marianne; She started to make big eyes but Ali Bongo showed her ability to harm the French economic interests of which an example was given with the denunciation by Gabon of the management contract granted to Veolia on the Water Company and Electricity of Gabon (SEEG). Marianne, a good girl, ended up resolving to resume her old policy of supporting the dictatorship in order to safeguard her economic and strategic interests.

Le Petit-Jupiter of the Elysee has just sent to Libreville a new ambassador specializing in the economy and carrying a renewed message of friendship between the two states: once again the self-proclaimed "Land of Human Rights" abandons the oppressed to their sad fate ... of which he is largely responsible. Ali Bongo is fighting a war of attrition against his opponents who are beginning to divide: some seized by the greed have rallied to the regime, others have agreed to go to the elections, while Jean Ping called for a boycott, arguing that participation amounted to recognition of illegitimate power. The first results allow the government to bully and evoke an "electoral tsunami" in its favor and a debacle of the "official" opposition. The power is still obliged to admit a very high rate of abstention. In fact, it seems that the "tsunami" benefits the supporters of the boycott. What comfort the militants of the Gabonese diaspora in France who, tirelessly, continue for more than two years their weekly events place Trocadero in Paris.

The country bordering northern Gabon, Cameroon, was holding a presidential election on Sunday. Faced with Paul Biya, autocrat 85 years including 36 in power, the opposition is in a scattered order with no less than 7 candidates for a single-round election. Suffice to say that the outgoing president should not have too much trouble to win for another 7 years, even if here as in Gabon it is the abstention that is likely to be a majority.The situation in Cameroon is similar to that of the other countries of Françafrique, with wealth captured by the former colonial power and its local relays, and a population trying to survive in misery. But Cameroon also knows 2 armed conflicts: one in the great Muslim north where Boko Haram is raging, and the other in the English-speaking areas of the west formerly under British mandate before the unification with the French part.Anglophones felt abandoned by power and demanded a return to federalism that had been in force from 1961 to 1972. The repressive response to these demands led to the emergence of an armed insurgency that proclaimed independence. of "Ambazonia" a year ago.

Last summer, President Macron assured his Cameroonian counterpart of all his support for his fight against Boko Haram, without any reservations on the abuses perpetrated at the same time by the Cameroonian army against anglophones.Would the fight against jihadism excuse all human rights abuses? But after all, is not Paul Biya also a valiant defender of La Francophonie? Even before the vote a visit of the old potentate in Paris has already been scheduled for November to allow the vassal to pay his suzerain the tribute that is due. This would tend to prove that this election is only a hoax and that the result depends only on one voice: that of the Elysian Monarch.

Reporter: Didier Jégou