Tag Archives | gabon

A fight inside Gabon’s kleptocratic dynasty exposes the complicity of French business

One of Africa’s wealthiest ruling dynasties is tearing itself apart over the fortune left by the late dictator Omar Bongo of Gabon. But as the first family takes its inheritance battle public, and instability reigns at the summit of power, the epic scale of the Bongo clan’s institutionalized pillaging of public resources in the former French colony is being revealed in grotesque detail. At the same time, the shady system of informal political and commercial networks of patronage, graft and corruption privileging French multi-national companies and politicians, a system known as Françafrique has been exposed. The revelations are an indictment of a corrupt regime that reflects shamefully on both the former colonial master France, and the unabashedly high-living governing family that has treated the national treasury like its own private bank account. Omar Bongo ruled the central African nation, now the continent’s fourth-largest oil producer, for 41 years until his death in 2009. He fathered 53 children, but designated two leading heirs – his ‘treasured daughter’ and former top aide, notorious private jet frequent flier Pascaline Bongo, and son and current President, the luxury-car loving Ali Bongo. The quarrel among the heirs is in a country riven by extreme wealth disparities, with one third of the population of 1.6 million living […]

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France, the UN, the EU, and the US summoned to sort out a family squabble in sub-Saharan Africa

Something like a deja-vu occurred in Gabon on September 2, 2016 when Jean Ping called a press conference at his Libreville home to declare himself the rightful president of Gabon, before official results of the presidential election held on 27 August 2016.  A few years earlier, André Mba Obame had done the same following the 2009 presidential election, hoping to receive the support of the international community. However, until his mysterious death in exile in 2015, this former adviser to Omar Bongo and government minister never recovered from the fact that despite a wealth of evidence indicating that the election had been rigged in favour of Ali Bongo (Omar Bongo’s son), France (and others such as the US) accepted the inverted election results which declared Ali Bongo winner. History is stuttering this time around as the main protagonists of the recent presidential election (Jean Ping and Ali Bongo) are maneuvering exactly like their political godfather, Omar Bongo, had taught them. Omar Bongo singlehandedly ruled the small but oil-rich central African nation of Gabon for 42 years until his death in 2009. Just a few months before his death though, the frail and ill-stricken dictator was to pull a hitherto rarely […]

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