OPEN LETTER OF CIVIL SOCIETY OF GABON
To His Excellency François Fillon
PRIME MINISTER OF FRANCE
Mr Prime Minister,
With the prospect of a presidential election in France, it is customary that the highest representatives of the French state program a tour of Africa.
We can not comment on the real purpose of the one you are in Gabon for, as the relationships that "unite", or more precisely, that bind Gabon to France are decided in your palaces and those of your personal friends, except with the people of Gabon.
Mr Prime Minister,
Recognizing the true nature of relations between France and Gabon, the engaged civil society, in this open letter, would like to express its profound sense, with the hope that, contrary to custom, you'll finally have the political intelligence to include them in your definition of the interests of France.
Hence, Prime Minister, Gabonese civil society is aware that the French political class, blinded by the defense of its interests, despises the conscience and intelligence of the peoples of the world.
Indeed, Prime Minister more than 50 years after (so call) independence, Gabon is at a crossroads, the country is plunged into an indescribable desolation which key words include:
- The general state of disrepair of infrastructure (roads, schools, hospitals, housing);
- The degeneration of 75% of the population;
- The economic crimes including corruption, as a system of governance: This corruption affects all aspects of the regime: the Bongo family in particular has captured all material and financial resources of Gabon, which is thus the victim of a pillage and plunder of a large scale and shamelessly ....
In the same vein, members of government and heads of institutions affiliated with the ruling Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) regularly divert budgets allocated to them.
-How to understand that since 2008, with annual budgets estimated at four billion euros on average, Gabon is not able to have a functioning health system?
- How to understand with all means, that Gabonese women continue to die when giving birth per hundred in Libreville and in the provinces?
- How to understand that with so much money the government is not able to build schools that meet international standards, but Gabonese children are crammed into classrooms (80 to 100 students per classroom)?
- How to understand that with so much money the Gabonese have no access to basic needs for water and electricity in Libreville and in the whole country?
- How to understand that this Government has not able to offer its people, decent housing to address the serious housing shortage that affects more than 70% of the population?
- How to understand that Gabon through its defense forces and security continues to use torture on detainees in detention centers of police, gendarme and intelligence services?
- How to understand the central prison in Libreville built for 250 people is now full with more than 2000 prisoners tortured and permanently deprived of all rights?
- How to understand the violation and the rejection of all forms of democratic expression by the Government of Gabon that forbid and punish marches or public demonstrations and meetings of civil society and opposition?
- How then to understand the abusive and illegal use of security and defense forces to violently beat up and kill civilians in Gabon? The example of Port-Gentil (in 2009) is a reminder of the criminal nature of this regime which bulk of power is based on the use of brute force with the help of mercenaries and other illegal forces.
- How can France accept that stolen billion in Gabon by Bongo family members and their allies can be accommodated in French banks, and that the judicial proceeding against the ill-gotten gains are hampered by the French government?
- How is France that promotes democratic values and ethics in the management of public property, to accept the purchase in 2010 in Paris of a building for 100 million euros, while in Gabon people in power can not provide primary health care to population they are supposed to represent?
Mr. Prime Minister, the great France, the country of Human Rights and the Citizen of 1789 should no longer support this criminal regime, this ignominious dictatorship!
France must absolutely choose sides, the camp of democracy and transparency!
France did not hesitate to compromise themselves as with Tunisia, and for that the choice of France must be clear!
To free Gabon of the current state of degradation, civil society supported by national democratic forces requires these:
1. Fundamentally reform the Constitutional Court;
2. Revision of the electoral law;
3. Reforming the National Council for Communication;
4. Reforming CENAP (Permanent electoral commission) integrating members of civil society;
5. Reduce the presidential term to five (5) years renewable only once;
6. Ensure that the military personnel will be voting outside their barracks as all citizens;
7. Back to elections in two rounds;
8. Proceed with redistricting, taking into account the demographic factor;
9. Get the partners of development (including the international community) involved in the process of electoral transparency;
10. Introduce biometrics into the making of the electoral register;
11. Open the public media to all stakeholders (all people) in the Nation;
12. Amend the Constitution in a referendum to incorporate all the reforms;
13. Set up a Tripartite Commission (majority in power, opposition and civil society) responsible for the implementation of all reforms.
On transparency which is the main problem of the electoral process in Gabon, Mr. Ali Bongo and his government, against all odds and against the will of the people of Gabon have agreed to hold parliamentary elections in 2011 with the current legal provisions that not guarantee the vote in conditions of transparency and credibility. Thus, a widespread fraud is preparing to ensure the falsification and the victory of the PDG in the next election.
Mr Ali Bongo and his government have therefore decided to force a passage, by refusing to introduce biometrics into the electoral process despite the fact that the electoral law on biometrics has been passed and that all stakeholders want electoral transparency.
So, Mr. Prime Minister, it despise us to think that we are not aware that foreign policy, and particularly France's foreign policy in Africa, is based only on circumstantial rhetoric. This talent for rhetoric to defend all the major principles and their opposites: what applies to Libya does not apply to Syria, nor for Yemen. The future of Africa? That expressed by Nicolas Sarkozy in Dakar, is the opposite of what he maintains in Libreville. An electoral coup in Gabon and you pull down the red carpet at Ali Bongo. An electoral coup in Ivory Coast and you launch your missiles at Laurent Gbagbo. Universal principles applicable in France are not applicable in Gabon.
We are outraged to see that you are truly convinced that more than fifty years of (so call) "independence," Gabon is not able to make the file an electoral body equivalent to a district of France. Also outraged to find that before the blinkers you wear with all the scandals in Gabon, fraud has become a model of government that is shockingly clear in the educational system, as the Ministry of Education has distributed numerous baccalaureate and BEPC (high school) exams to their siblings owners of private high schools. We are frustrated to see how often the duplicity by which the country of Human Rights (France) represents and applies according to its affinities, its allegiances.
From the country of Human rights, we have heard no official voice rising to protest the adoption, by law, of a constitution establishing a military-police state in Gabon. It is clear that the aspirations of the Gabonese people will never be part of your concerns. And lead us not speak of non-interference in our internal affairs, you will then force us to state the event to deny that.
Nicolas Sarkozy, after pledging during his campaign to end the paternalistic relations between France and Gabon, has changed sides advocating the "uninhibited relations." We understand that the master of Françafrique has now assumed, without complex, the perpetuation of the inextricable link that unites politicians and businessmen in the corruption, predation of our country.
Mr Prime Minister,
Gabon is your counter. But the Gabonese aspire, against your will, to take charge of their destiny. Gabonese civil society wants to solemnly warn you by telling you our firm determination to reclaim our rights, our freedoms, our sovereignty, our country by all means necessary.
That said, Gabonese civil society like sisters Niger, Senegal, Guinea Conakry ... said, "That's enough! " and decides to take responsibility for our country, the rule of law, one democratic state in which to live.
The Gabonese want to finally be recognized through their leaders by taking into account their votes because so far, the elections were still studded with fraud and multiform incidents.
Excellency, Mr. Prime Minister, prevention is better than cure. So your intervention with gabonese authorities may avoid the fate experienced in Ivory Coast for example.
Ultimately, gabonese authorities must understand that failure to take into account the requirements of civil society on the electoral process and democratic environment in Gabon on one hand, and the resolution of social problems on the other hand, there will be no elections in Gabon.
If necessary, civil society reserves the right to take major actions, aimed at bringing the gabonese government to adopt mechanisms for transparent elections, whatever the price that needs to be paid!
Knowing we can count on your contribution to the establishment of true democracy in Gabon, please accept Prime Minister, the assurance of our highest consideration.
Libreville, Thursday, July 15, 2011
For civil society:
Brainforest, SAEG, CONASYSED, SNEEPS, USDS, USAP, SYGEF, AFRICAN HORIZONS, ROLBG, PUBLISH WHAT YOU PAY, OND, SENA, FESEENA,
Marc Ona Essangui: Brainforest / Publish What You Pay: (241) 07 29 41 40
Georges MPAG: ROLBG: (241) 07 51 99 32
Alain MOUAGOUADI: CONASYCED: (241) 07 39 45 85
Dieudonné MINLAMA: OND: (241) 07 94 87 19
Alain MOUPOPA: African Horizons: (241) 07 75 15 03
(Translated from french by Citoyen Libre)