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Implications of Gabon Coup: A Critical Analysis by Thomas Borrel

Published September 21, 2023
8 months ago

As scenes of jubilations echoed through Gabon following the removal of President Ali Bongo, Thomas Borrel, a Paris-based analyst from Survie, a renowned human rights group, urged vigilance. In his analysis, the celebrations could potentially be premature and the citizens might find themselves in the clutches of another oppressive regime.

Borrel observed that a military dictatorship might replace the ousted autocracy if the situation in Gabon isn't handled appropriately. The military coup, according to Borrel, ousted what was effectively an electoral coup, with Bongo winning a controversial third term in office, extending his family's rule for over half a century in the resource-rich nation.

Mirroring the sentiments of many, Borrel flagged Gabon as a prime example of 'Francafrique’ - a reflection of France's enduring influence in Africa. He stated that this 'Francafrique' culture, characterized by ongoing corruption, nepotism, and a monopoly of power within a single family, was facilitated by significant French enterprises.

Borrel went on to indicate that despite France's influence fading in many other nations, such as the Central African Republic, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea, it remains potently strong in Gabon. The analyst emphasized that popular opposition to French influence was gaining ground within the overthrown regimes.

Despite these changes, Borrel feels it's the institutions still in place, such as the French army, the CFA franc, and underlying French paternalistic cultures, that symbolize 'Francafrique.' He advocates for deep-seated changes, adding that these must be evident even at the highest echelons of the state.

France, which has maintained close ties with Gabon through extensive economic, diplomatic, and military networks, has spoken out against the coup. Furthermore, it is continually monitoring the developing situation.

In conclusion, the happenings in Gabon are potentially part of a larger continental shifting, challenging governments with historic ties to their colonial past. This shift was apparent when rebellious soldiers ousted the democratically elected government in Niger just a month ago.

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