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Ali Bongo was elected President of Gabon in 2009, re-elected in 2016, and again this week. Many election observers complained of multiple voting irregularities in all three elections, but Mr. Bongo told a friendly media that those observers were enemies of democracy, the people had spoken, and he would humbly serve his country as he was called upon to do. Coincidentally, he has been accused of attempting to control the media as well.
Gabon is a member of OPEC and brings in billions in oil revenue every year, but the population remains poor. Mr. Bongo has been accused of enriching himself and his family by selling influence to foreign interests. He has used the police and the courts to prosecute his political opponents. He has even used riots and violent gangs to intimidate voters who don’t support him.
I know what you’re thinking — thank God I live in the land of the free and home of the brave — nothing like that could ever happen here. Gosh, those poor third-world people sure have screwed up politics, don’t they? Lordy.
Where was I? Oh, yes. As I mentioned, Mr. Bongo was re-elected this week in an election marked by remarkable voter irregularities, lack of oversight of vote counting by neutral and opposition observers, and a decision released before all the votes could be counted. Less than an hour later, he was overthrown in an insurrection, and a general in the military took his place. Observers of the events of Jan. 6 may be confused by this, but the Gabon insurrection involved men with guns who overthrew a government.
In West/Central Africa, there have been eight successful coups in the past three years. And many more unsuccessful coups. African politics has always been bonkers, but that’s amazing. The entire world seems crazier and less stable than usual, and that’s really saying something.
Of course, once citizens recognize that their government is clearly and obviously corrupt, what choice do they have? Voting doesn’t help anymore. So they must find other ways to have their voices heard.
Corrupt politicians create violent responses. Over and over again, throughout history.
I presume President Biden will release a statement denouncing the violence in Gabon. I’m sure he disapproves of violent overthrows of corrupt governments.
At least, he should.
No, I am not arguing for armed insurrection. I am simply illustrating two blindingly obvious points:
1) Our government is as hopelessly corrupt as the third-world governments that we used to make fun of.
2) Democrats are playing with fire. They are leading us into VERY dangerous waters.Published in