Alan Clark, that louche and radio-actively incorrect figure, once caused uproar in Westminster by referring to Africa as "bongo-bongo land." Volcanic outrage erupted on the Left at this hideously racist remark. But on January 8, 2019, the Daily Telegraph reported that in oil-rich Gabon—which is the re-branded French Equatorial Africa—loyalists had thwarted a coup against the President. His name is Ali-Ben Bongo, whose family has ruled Gabon since 1967. Ali-Ben’s father was President for 42 years, and acquired some 39 properties in France. (Mobutu of the neighbouring Congo could do no more.) I see no reason in fact or protocol why Gabon should not be referred to as Bongo land. One Bongo stands for many.
The failed coup was the work of disaffected junior army officers, who wanted to be generals when they grew up. Their ringleader was Lieutenant Kelly Obiang, who urged the public to rise and take control of the streets. Only a few hundred heeded the call. Obiang has now been arrested and his promotion prospects have been drastically curtailed.
I support President Bongo. Junior army officers have done much damage throughout Africa, and their record of accelerated promotion does not give one confidence in their version of the future. Best to stay with the Gabon monarchy as presently constituted, and that Government of the Bongos, by the Bongos, and for the Bongos, shall not perish from the land.
Ralph Berry writes from England.