This news report appeared on BBC on September 4, 2009 following the recent election in Gabon.

Looting in Gabon despite curfew

There was looting overnight in Gabon’s second city despite a night-time curfew imposed after the election as president of the ruling party’s Ali Ben Bongo.

Reporters say Port Gentil’s main market was also set alight, but government and French buildings were not targeted.

Before the curfew, opposition supporters had set fire to the French consulate in the city, accusing France of helping to rig the election.

The polls came after the death of Ali’s father [president-for-life, Omar Bongo], who ruled [Gabon] for 41 years.

Under Omar Bongo, Gabon retained close ties to the former colonial power, [France].

The AFP news agency reports that 50 people were arrested on Thursday night during the unrest.

After the results were declared on Thursday, opposition groups clashed with security forces in the capital, Libreville.

Inmates were freed from jail and installations belonging to the French oil company, Total, were attacked in Port Gentil.

France has about 1,000 troops in the country [Gabon], and has advised its 10,000 citizens to stay indoors.

The BBC’s Linel Kwatsi in Libreville says the situation in both cities is now calm – [the calm of the graveyard].

Amid the unrest, Ali Ben Bongo pledged to be a uniting force for the oil-rich nation.

He was widely tipped to succeed his father, who died in June – [to ensure the status quo in perpetuity].

One of the world’s richest men, the late president [-for-life] owned a string of properties in France, and was an unflinching ally of Paris [in the exact mould of ex-president Mobutu Sese Seko of the Democratic Republic of Congo].

At the time of his death, French courts were investigating Mr. Bongo for corruption – allegations he [of course] denied.

Gabon is sub-Saharan Africa’s 4th biggest oil producer [Nigeria is 1st], and Africa’s second biggest wood exporter, although most of its 1.4 million people live in [abject] poverty.

_46291372_gabon_market_gettyThe foregoing news item encapsulates all that is wrong in Africa today.  And I dare say, this is why nothing changes in Africa: the meddlesomeness of Africa’s ex-colonial masters who shield, shelter, and protect Africa’s presidents-for-life and bandits-in-chief as they rape and pillage their countries’ resources, stashing them away in foreign safe havens.

The heavy presence of French troops and nationals in Gabon ensures that the status quo in maintained.  And for that to be the case, the French has to help “to rig the election to ensure that “baby doc” is elected to succeed “papa doc”.  After that, the steady flow of Gabon’s natural resources to France will surely continue uninterrupted, and “most of [Gabon’s] 1.4 million people [will for the foreseeable future continue to] live in poverty”.  For them, nothing changes: the hopelessness, the helplessness, the powerlessness.