People have said that France is behind the coup d’ état in Gabon. Is it true?
Many seem to ignore that thought, preferably comfortable with the euphoria accompanying the coup. Can France inspire this ‘palace coup’ that aroused jubilations beyond Gabon?
Recall the coup wave across what we call francophone otherwise countries colonized by France. Niger which supply uranium to France and Europe is stalled amidst diplomatic tug of war with former colonial master on one hand and Ecowas on the other. Now Gabon, another source of uranium seem to be up for grabs, considering the unpopular Bongo family rape of the Central African country’s economy and recently rigged polls like that of Nigeria. Did France act early and timely, seizing the momentum in which announcing an ailing Ondimba Bongo, who is suffering partial stroke as winner?
Uranium was discovered in Gabon in 1956. In 1972, several natural nuclear fission reactors were discovered in Oklo, Haut-Ogooué province. France runs it. There is a race for France to secure uranium for its nuclear power industry. In 2021, Africa had second-largest uranium production in the world, but most countries in sub-Sahara cannot power simple electric lights.
The new transition leader is no new comer as he is cousin to ousted Ali Bongo. General Brice Oligui Nguema was promoted to the helms of the Republican Guard, an influential arm in the Gabon military hierarchy. Being an insider in the Franco-Gabon relationship, does it mean the script of this coup may have been written by France? More so, the tone of the coup does not bear statements against foreign exploitation. The new transition head was ADC to Ali Bongo father, Omar.
Will the 2.4 million Gabonese trust these coup plotters? People are tired of the Bongo family who have been in power since 1967, amazing immense wealth off it, then stashing same across the world.
Gabon is also rich in manganese, oil and natural gas, gold, timber, diamond and iron. It is one of the 14 former colonies of France that pay $500 billion colonial tax yearly. Unfortunately, Gabonese are poor, living under $2 a day. As we watch the coup plotters, it must be remembered that France still needs uranium and influence in former colonies.