mardi 18 février 2014

#Gabon: Open Letter to AKON by Gabon's civil society (Electrification of Africa Project)

 Open letter to Mr. Aliaune Badara Thiam aka Akon, Senegalese-American singer and producer of RnB

Libreville (Gabon), February 18, 2014

Subject: Your project for the electrification of Africa


Since the beginning of this year, you are crisscrossing African countries in a tour called
"Akon Tour for the electrification of Africa" which targets nine African countries, including Gabon. So you're supporting a village electrification project in Africa. Called "Akon Lighting Africa", this project aims to bring electricity to nearly one million African rural households, by using solar energy, which for you would be your contribution to the development of Africa.
You are a known international star, but it is not music, your area of excellence, which brings you to Gabon: it is rather business with Ali Bongo and his friends.

We condemn this latest attempt to steal and launder Gabonese public funds which we suspect, because for over four years that Mr. Ali Bongo has been in power, nothing has been done at the social level and, with all due respect, it is not you who are going to change that. At best, your business will serve to enrich you and fill the pockets even more of the kleptomaniacs at the head of Gabon. From experience, we bet that no village will be electrified through your project.

Like you, Richard Attias announced thousands of job creation following his New York Forum Africa. After two editions, waiting for the third which is scheduled to take place this next May, no social assessment can be made of this money pit. However, Gabonese money was used to further enrich Mr. Attias, partners, rogues and accomplices.

Akon, take the time to consult financial data about Gabon and tell us how your social project is suitable for our country. We believe that Gabon has no need for your charity and that if the benefits from the exploitation of Gabon's natural resources were managed properly, each Gabonese citizen would be able to live decently. You ridicule your project by including Gabon and you dishonor yourself. We recommend that you turn instead toward countries that really need your charity. There are some in Africa. For example, Senegal, your country of origin.

You want to do useful work for Gabon? We propose a concrete plan:

  • Denounce the illegitimate rule of Ali Bongo, who has not been elected by the people of Gabon. He succeeded his father, who ruled for more than forty years over Gabon, with the support of institutions and an army led by members of his family, like the President of the Constitutional Court who is an official mistress of his father.
  • Denounce ritual crimes which you have probably heard of. It is a barbaric practice that involves taking while the victim is still alive, vital organs of an individual (eyes, tongue, sex ....) to get power, money and glory. We know that the ritual crimes are sponsored by the people in power. Indeed, since the advent of Ali Bongo to power, we are witnessing a resurgence of ritual crimes with total impunity of perpetrators and sponsors. There is not a day that goes by without a mutilated body being found somewhere in Gabon.

    We inform you that our fight against this scourge has earned us the support hacktivists "Anonymous" in a warning message sent on April 13 to the Gabonese government, and we continue to fight for justice.

- Denounce how little is being done for the education of our children who are crammed into classrooms of over a hundred students, Ali Bongo having not seen fit to build one school since his accession to power. However, he requisitioned a locker at a football stadium as a classroom.

Last December, hundreds of students took to the streets to support their teachers who had been on strike for two months. In response to their legitimate demands, Ali Bongo sent to them a contingent of soldiers to beat them into submission.

- Denounce the fact that in Gabon, women still give birth on the floor, and students of the only university in the country are studying in more than deplorable conditions (see report by France 24, Les Observateurs, released on 6 April 2013).

We stop at these four items to help you understand the meaning of our struggle and the reason for this letter.

Believing that you, the little Senegalese from St. Louis now a great American star, carry with you the noble human values of freedom, equality of opportunity, and that you place human dignity above all, we ask you to consider in all conscience whether your presence in Gabon would be wise.

In fact, we appeal to your conscience, your humanity and ask you to renounce implanting your project in Gabon since it would only be a pure communication operation to the glory of Ali Bongo.

We hope that you have a sense of history and it is in this context that we ask you to analyze the historical significance of your support to the current regime. Because our people would be very happy to welcome you in other circumstances, we say that your presence in Libreville will be for us a clear position against the Gabonese people.

Our priorities are education, health, and housing. Mr. Bongo and his government would be unable to show you their achievements in only in these areas, after 4 years in power.
For full disclosure, we inform you that the contents of this letter will be communicated to the press, civil societies and human rights organizations worldwide. 

We hope you understand our approach.
Please accept, Sir, the assurance of our highest consideration.

For Education trade unions Convention - Convention nationale des Syndicats du Secteur Education (CONASYSED) – Mr. Marcel LIBAMA, in charge of Administration – contact : +241 06 77 28 71

For the citizen movement « Ça suffit comme Ça », Mr. Marc Ona Essangui, Goldman Prize 2009 - contact: +241 07 29 41 40

For the Front of Gabonese Indignants, Mr. Gregory NGBWA MINTSA, Integrity Award of Transparency International 2009 and 2010 - contact: +241 06 24 61 57

For the Women movement against rituals crimes, Mrs. Blanche SIMONNY ABEGUE, Chairperson - contact: +241 06 49 08 39

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