Saturday, November 26, 2005

Four more... decades!

Omar Bongo is Africa's longest and the world's second longest serving leader. He's run Gabon since 1967. Despite nearly four decades in charge, Bongo wants seven more years in charge.

One would think that if, after 38 years, you can't accomplish everything you set out to do, then maybe it's time to give someone else a chance.

Unless what you set out to accomplish is control over your country's lucrative and corrupt oil trade.

But Bongo seems to be doing a pretty good job at that too.


At 1:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm struck by the comment at the end of the article (the one you link to):

"Me, I think I just won't bother voting," said professor Ndong.

Zimbabwe has just emerged from the most feeble elections where most people took the same view of the elections there and that state of mind pretty much summed it all up for us. So much for democracy...

And as for the vote-buying and electoral fraud and tinkering with the constituion that the article mentions. All so familiar...! I wonder if there is a handbook for dictators out there that they all read?

By the way, we run an african blog with african authors....(you say under your links...'Suggestions for other such blogs are welcome and encouraged')


At 9:53 AM, Blogger TheMalau said...

My fellow Africans need to stop fallin into this trap of saying "I just won't bother". That's what got Bush in power here in the US.

Our corrupt leaders can only cheat so much, if people vote in large numbers. They, in fact, benefit from the low turnouts, and they bank on them... and we keep on giving it to them on silver platters. If our opposition parties were a bit more serious, it would not hurt either.

Nzambi sambula Afrika!

At 11:04 AM, Blogger BRE said...

Omar "Jimmy" Bongo of Gabon is not nearly as bad a leader as some of his political peers in other West African countries and across the African continent. I mean that Yes he is most definately corrupt and probably has been siphoning off billions of dollars from the Gabon National Treasury during his past 30+ years in power.

And Yes he suppresses political opposition through the use of dirty tricks, payoffs, voter manipulation, prostitutes, a chicken in every pot, and a so-called multi-party parliament that is at his devoted service for a small fee and a few personal favors. Loyalty comes with a high price tag these days you know.

But to my knowledge he does not use brutal persecution of the opposition and the populace at large to stay in power. That counts for something, don't it? And let us not forget that he agreed to set aside a full 11% of the virgin rainforests of Gabon for use as national parks and for eco-tourism business development. Gabon serves as a model nation for all countries in the Congo Basin to show how to properly preserve and manage valuable one-of-a-kind ecosystems, biodiversity, and precious environmental resources.

Nonetheless the sole Gabonese person that I know here in Germany was furious that "Jimmy" Bongo stole the election yet again. Of course that same person didn't do squat about it including not going to vote in the election via the Embassy of Gabon in Berlin. I don't think that the Togolese citizens living here in Germany were allowed to vote in their last free-and-fair presidential election via their embassy. This is another first for Jimmy Bongo: You can vote in national elections from abroad 'cause it won't matter anyway.

"Jimmy" Bongo is a very close friend of France, Jacques Chiraq and all of the other exploitive French national leaders and European businessmen who have helped him (and themselves) to stay in power for so long in Francophone Afrique Gabon.

That all counts for something in Jimmy's favor, don't it? Non?

At 11:09 AM, Blogger Brian said...

There is no question that Bongo is significantly less repressive than many of his African peers. Though it's worth noting that if I'd said the same thing as you, I'd have been accused of being a westerner who applies different standards on human rights to Africans than to other people.

Bongo is certainly less bad than many of his peers, but it is worth remembering that many people said the same thing about Mobutu and Houphouet-Boigny. And we know what happened to those countries after they died.


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