The political class in the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) watched last week with delight at how a French coup, installed 37-year old Mahamat Idriss Deby as Chad’s new president. The coup unfolded without any significant internal or external objection. Besides a half-hearted statement issued by the African Union, asking for a return to civilian rule, the coup was treated by international actors as a simple matter in a region of many adventures. Thanks to neo-colonial France, the young and naïve Mahatma Deby has officially started his own 30-40 years reign of terror and misrule.
In neighbouring Cameroun, 88-year-old Paul Biya has misruled the country with an iron fist since November 6, 1982, after taking over from Ahmadou Ahidjo. Following numerous health scares over the last seven years, France has been working tirelessly in the background to find a suitable replacement that would keep its neo-colonial grip on the country and the CEMAC region going. Therefore, the coup in Chad offers hope to those in France and Cameroon who were concerned that Franck Biya succeeding his father, Paul Biya, would be tricky.
For 38 years, Paul Biya has divided and misruled his country to such an extent that France is concerned that a change of leadership to anyone out of the current crime syndicate would not serve France’s interest. France and Paul Biya have not groomed anyone within his ruling CPDM party for power and have had sleepless nights over the last seven years about the way forward. But the success of last week’s experience in Chad has calmed their nerves.
Cameroon Intelligence Report has been informed that Franck Biya is already receiving presidential protocol lessons and getting intelligence briefings from senior officials in the military, the gendarmerie, the secret service and the police. Many prominent media gurus and political scientists from France have been recruited to make the planned political succession as effortless as possible. Cameroon’s key institutions, such as the security services and military, including critical ministries and state agencies are all headed by President Biya’s trusted tribal cronies. Our source said Franck Biya has been holding private meetings with his father’s coterie of barons as they plan.
The thought of Franck Biya succeeding his father would be laughable in many countries where decency and high standards are part of the state political fabric. Franck Biya has never held a job and certainly is not a university graduate. He comes in with neither competence nor experience, but for France, this does not matter. What matters is his ability to do as Paris orders. The numerous conflicts in Cameroun have failed to draw in condemnation from major global powers. This intentional silence and inactivity have been due to France’s extensive work in the dark arts of international political lobbying.
Hearing Macron talk to African countries about what is good for them is like having a lion lecture an antelope on protecting themselves. Since Europe realised that colonialism and theft had to end in the fifties, no other nation has been more aggrieved at ending neo-colonial theft and exploitation than France. The country’s entire economic system is built around the command, control and stealing of the natural resources of its former colonies. Portugal, Spain, Great Britain have all maintained a degree of political distance from their former preys, but France has doggedly refused to do the same.
Son-succeeding-father is a foreign policy objective of France in the CEMAC region designed to prolong their neo-colonial activities. At 77, Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo Brazzaville, who has accumulated 36 years in office, has his son Denis Christel Sassou-Nguesso as he preferred successor. President Ali Bongo of Gabon, who has been incapacitated since suffering a stroke in 2018, has appointed his 29-year-old son, Noureddin Bongo Valentin, as the General Coordinator of Presidential Affairs. Current president Ali Bongo succeeded his father, Omar Bongo, who ruled Gabon for 42 years. Equatorial Guinea already has a President-in-waiting, the son of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, who has led the country since staging a coup in 1979.
France has made a habit of throwing petrol bombs around Africa to serve its interest. It is grossly wrong to think that it will never face a day of reckoning for its meddling in African political affairs. In the brutal arena of International Relations, it is naïve to expect nation-states to be pleasant. But Africans are not asking for a friendly France; they ask for France to leave African politics to Africans.
Weak institutions in the CEMAC region are sturdy pillars of enriching the French Treasury. Nothing illustrates this better than the ongoing attempt to get a line-up of sons replacing their dads. Africa is paying the price for political passivity and France’s ruthlessness.
Integrity is an unknown noun in the French diplomatic community when it comes to dealing with Africa. France is a vacuum of integrity, and it is sowing the seeds of future turmoil in Africa with impunity. France has a lifelong contempt for the norms of decent behaviour in political leadership. What will not alter if Africans remain mute is the character of France. Apologists posit that sons succeeding their fathers offer continuation and political stability. The question is the continuation and strength of what and for whom?
France’s greatest weakness is in consistently underestimating the youths of Africa and the intelligence of Africans. Like the protests in Senegal, Mali and Chad, we need more of them and real political action in the continent to bring this evil to an end.
By Isong Asu with Intelligence Files
Cameroon Concord News Group
London Bureau Chief