By Maître Jean De Dieu Momo*
As I watch the drama unfold in Gabon, I keep wondering why all the fuss about Ali Bongo who has been declared winner of Gabon’s presidential election? How many presidential terms has he served in Gabon? Just One.
Why are we talking about him as if he has been in power for 50 years? Do you know that Gabon’s former president, Omar Bongo worked with the runner-up, Jean Ping for 40 years while Ali was still a child?
Between Ali and Ping, who has stayed longer in power in Gabon? Who has the most looted wealth between Ali and Ping? As is well documented, Ping is a multibillionaire – Ali is not. Ping has a 25 percent share in Total Gabon. Ali is not a shareholder. Ping’s son is also a multibillionaire. Ali has nothing!
Just within his first six year’s mandate ,president Ali has tarred 400km road, dismantled the wanton privileges accorded presidential family including ping and Zouba, the former speaker of the National Assembly who is also another billionaire.
Ali has also banned the export of wood; insisting that timber exploited in Gabon be processed in the country in order to create 2,000 jobs. He diversified the Gabonese economy that no longer depends solely on oil. Among other things, he developed agriculture through seed operation and serviced the streets of Libreville to eradicate the daily monster traffic jams that made life miserable for commuters in the capital city. This is similar to what TSIMI did in Cameroon’s capital Yaounde.
Ali Bongo, so far has not been indicted for any human rights violations in Gabon as is the case with some sitting presidents in Africa. He has done everything for the wellbeing of Gabonese
Ali’s crime, in my humble opinion, is that he mustered the courage to say NO to vested western interests in Gabon. Now the outcry is that he never won even the 2009 presidential elections and was only put there by former French president Sarkozy.
Now, the call is that Ali must go even if he has brought gold to Gabonese!!! All this wahala reminds me of the excuse that was used by western powers to bombard Gaddafi in Libya.
Good for Gabon if it is true that it is France that Ali Bongo in power and before they went separate ways because the Gabonese taxman fined Total Gabon XAF 805 billion, – an amount that Ping and his associates do not want to pay by diverting attention on Ali Bongo’s re-election fraud and questioning his nationality.
There are claims that the election was rigged in favour of Ali Bongo. Ok lets do a recount of the votes. But on what basis are people so sure that ping won? Even before the results were announced, Mr Ping came out saying he has won.
The question on my lips is what was the point going to the ballot box and not installing as president directly? After the vote he says he won and everybody believed per se in despite of all the evidence of electronic fraud and threats to national insecurity, threats bring chaos implant permanent instability in Gabon.
He lodged his appeal at the Constitutional Council and threatened that if the judges do not accept him as the de facto winner he will bring lasting instability to Gabon. Why is everyone, both on the left and right in France, including our friend Melenchon, against Ali using the pretext of election fraud?
I consider this quite intriguing. Nobody is questioning Ali’s laudable achievements, so why all the fuss to replace Ali Bongo Ondimba. Why should he will it be replaced?
Africans, let’s think more about our interests first. Electoral frauds must stop being used as political weapons alongside words like dictatorship, terrorism, bad governance and the like. France should stay away from African politics.
* Maître Jean De Dieu Momo is a popular Cameroonian Lawyer, politician, social commentator and analyst.