vendredi 26 août 2011

Gabon: Statement on behalf of Forces for Change by Jean Eyeghe Ndong, former Prime minister


Statement on behalf of Forces for Change by Jean Eyeghe Ndong, former Prime minister of Gabon

Libreville, Gabon, August 25, 2011. Ladies and gentlemen, August 17 (1960), the date of the accession of our country to international sovereignty, is an important moment in the life of the nation, it should allow us to take stock of progress and to consider prospects of improving the well being of people and the country. But what do we see? In his address to the nation on August 16, on the occasion of Independence Day, Ali Bongo Ondimba merely served to the public his propaganda that is only matched by his desire to legitimize his power usurped on August 30, 2009. Ali Bongo Ondimba did not respond to the legitimate expectations of the people of Gabon. This situation is not strictly speaking a surprise because for two years, we continue to denounce the amateurism of a power-like dictatorship.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Unfortunately, we see Ali Bongo Ondimba remains true to himself, because his speech of August 16 is far from the realities faced by Gabonese. For example, for two years, the purchasing power of Gabonese has not improved, or their access to health care. Gabonese are still victims of untimely cuts of water and electricity, at best the nation's most vulnerable people face the acute shortage of drinking water.

Images Bongo family don't want you to see. 
People of Gabon living at a landfill in Libreville 
where they feed themselves also. (Photo: JP Rougou)

The recently announced measures for students have been good if they were part of a defined social policy of free education for all students. The 10% increase in the rate of scholarships to foreign gabonese students and 25% for students enrolled locally are very similar to a measure to win few votes in the next elections.

The housing problem remains for all Gabonese a figment of the imagination. This is not the promise of establishing a guarantee fund for housing that will reassure.

The administrative reform will be meaningful only when it is depoliticized and detribalized.

In addition, the flying by sight style of governing of this regime and a frantic search of unfound legitimacy leads Ali Bongo Ondimba wanting to capture a number of projects initiated and negotiated with external partners by the government of late President Omar Bongo Ondimba. This is the case of construction on the widening of the highway 1 until a Ntoum, and other projects. The project of the National Health Insurance and Social Security, initiated and implemented by the last government of Omar Bongo Ondimba which resulted in the issuance of the first cards to social security beneficiairies in December 2008 is another example.

Financially, the many pledges do not seem to reflect the debt capacity of Gabon. The public debt had been reduced significantly in the last government of Omar Bongo Ondimba but will, within two (02) years, be reaching levels so high that they lead us on the ground floor in the category of countries at risk for foreign investors. The latest recommendations of the International Monetary Fund is an obvious example.

Moreover, the gap between the budget passed by Parliament and made off-budget spending by the government seriously affects the financial credibility of the country at the same time it undermines all social policies, to make room to lavish spending:

  • 65 billion (in local currency, about 100 millions euros or more than 130 millions US dollars) for a private mansion in Paris;
  • 3.5 billion (in local currency, about 6.9 millions US dollars) for a residence in Washington D.C. (Late Senator Kennedy’s mansion);
  • 17 billion (in local currency, about 34 millions US dollars) in two years for luxury cars.

Regarding the African Cup of Nations of football, Ali Bongo Ondimba, admitting it for the first time, finally informs us that the multisports stadium president Bongo, provided in the specifications of the Caf will not be operational for this competition. In his time, the opposition had rightly questioned the ability of our country to meet the delivery times of this stadium. History proves us right.

President Bongo Stadium in Libreville (photo: J.P. Rougou)

In due course, will require that the Gabonese people, football fans, be fully informed about the actual cost of the competition when you know the propensity of this regime for financial mistakes.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In his time, the Honourable Zacharie Myboto denounced a media-political charade organized at the Office of the President to, could you believe, introduce personal data in the preparation of the electoral register. Indeed, soon after, it did not happen because Ali Bongo Ondimba relied on a false reading and deliberately truncated opinion of the Constitutional Court. To hear Ali Bongo on August 16, biometrics will not be considered for the next parliamentary elections.

An order made at the last Council of Ministers, which amends many provisions of the Electoral Code would find its justification as an immediate application in accordance with Article 52 of the Constitution. Indeed, the right to legislate by ordinance only be explained by the urgency of the situation. The urgency here is to hold the next parliamentary elections in a transparent manner. However, the people in power decided otherwise. This is the place to denounce the democratic backsliding of this change by order of the electoral rules. In other serious democratic setbacks, this order:

  • challenges the tradition of political consensus which has always preceded any change in the electoral code;
  • returns to the principle of parity in the process of decision making within the permanent electoral commission (Cenap);
  • opens the possibility of relocating the headquarters of the Electoral Commission at the whim of those in power;
  • confiscated democratic debate by reducing the duration of the campaign, leaving the field open to corruption and the purchase of consciences.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

If assumed it had been brought to the head of the state by the will of the people of Gabon as he claims, the current holder of supreme power is it consistent with his conscience? Can he straight in Gabonese eyes when he dares to say that "I will continue to be part of responsibility, listening, dialogue and consensus constantly sought, necessary for our progress and to the preservation of civil and social peace for which we are key players "?

Can civil and social peace really be preserved as the people have no sense of freedom? As the Gabonese feel as foreigners at home and they do not recognize the leader of their country? As long as the people will not feel truly exercising their sovereignty and the freedom to choose their leaders will not be respected?

This is the case for elections that this regime claims to want to hold by the end of the year without the necessary transparency as demanded by the people of Gabon. If the men in power was listening to the people, if they have reflected the social demand which is indeed expressed by the population, all the conditions could be met for the forthcoming parliamentary elections to not give rise to disputes and not lead to a crisis. "No biometrics, hello damage! "Ali Bongo declared in the famous dialogue meeting that he himself had organized. Today, Ali Bongo has chosen the damage, he is leading the country toward them.

Are we a people condemned to permanent trial and error, even on what is accessible to us through our simple intelligence?

Ladies and gentlemen, my dear compatriots,

We are all aware of the seriousness of the situation in which those in power will lead us by insisting on organizing the upcoming parliamentary elections in disastrous conditions that we have just mentioned. We can not and must not accept it.

As responsible people, we launch a solemn appeal to all political parties of the opposition, civil society and all citizens who love peace, freedom and democracy. We invite them to take action in order to defeat the obscure maneuvers of Ali Bongo who has no other ambition than to remain in power by any means.

In the Gabonese people, we renew our call to action and vigilance.

Thank you.

(Free translation from french by Citoyen Libre Gabon)

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