Last week has seen yet another coup of the military in Africa, this time in the country of Gabon. Elections conducted on Wednesday were annulled the same day by the military, a curfew was put in place, the internet got shut down and former president Ali Bongo was placed in house arrest. Yesterday borders have been opened again with the situation in the country stabilizing.

From 1967 onward the father of Ali Bongo, Albert-Bernard Bongo, governed the french semi-colony in the interests of French imperialism for 41+ years, being head of state for one of the longest times in a system of government that is not a monarchy. During his reign, he was associated with many corruptions scandals in France and blatantly sold out the riches of Gabon, particularly oil, for a nickle and a dime, while taking large bribes and placing family members in profitable and influential positions. This resulted in a situation, where today according to the World Bank 1/3 of the Gabon population lives in poverty, despite the many natural riches of the country, while Albert-Bernard died as the richest heads of state of all time, having lived the life of a playboy with at least 30 children and plenty of real estate in the US.

After his death power was handed to his son Ali, who – through constant dabbling in the elections – governed the country from 2009 until last week in very much the same fashion. Taking the country-wide elections on August 30th and the expected electoral fraud as a pretext, the Gabon army on Wednesday ousted the president and took over control of the country.

What differs in Gabon in comparison to other recent in events in Africa, for example in Niger, is the lack of public outcry in bourgeois media in Europe. The replacement of the clique governing Niger as, principally, lackeys of French imperialism by a clique of bureaucratic capitalists rather aligned with Russian and Chinese imperialist interests let to many news outlets in Europe running long reports on the increasingly unstable situation in Africa. This affirms the assessment that the contradictions are sharpening and that imperialism is less and less capable of having a firm grasp on an increasingly volatile situation spreading through Africa and in the current situation has to hence play to the anti-colonial sentiment of the masses.

However, the developments in Gabon have not sparked the same amount of demagoguery in the press, as the situation in Niger did for example. German state-media Tagesschau even going so far as to paint a picture in which the military was actually making a coup in order to “save democracy”.

Taking a closer look at the situation however, it becomes apparent that the coup was likely engineered by French imperialism itself, in a maneuver to replace one lackey from a family well hated by the masses for their association with bureaucratic capitalism, personal corruption and public ties to the colonial overlord with a rather unknown lackey of the same clique. Thus garnering popular support and forestalling similar situations as seen in other countries recently while keeping the same old clique in power. The new head of state, General Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguema,  leading the provisional government is in fact the cousin of the former Ali Gabon. He comes from  one of the stronghold provinces of the Gabon Family, then went to Morocco for his officer training under European instructors, and was later raised to highest military command by the ruling clique, serving as the Commander-in-Chief of the Gabonese Republican Guard.

So it is little wonder, when analyzing the situation in Gabon the Financial Times in their print edition on Friday stated: “The coup highlighted the extend to which the region’s general had become emboldened and outside participants powerless to influence events […] “It’s almost impossible to undo a coup once it’s happened,” Khair said. “Former colonial powers like France, regional bodies like Ecowas or countries like Nigeria have been exposed as very weak in the their efforts to push for anything to be undone.” and then continues to emphasize:“Despite France’s condemnation of the coup, Bongo’s lack of popular support suggested there would be little appetite to restore him to power”.