I have already mentioned in this blog what French journalists call Françafrique. Last week, a blatant example of the links between French highest political figures and some of their African counterparts came to light.
Since the beginning of the 1980s, Robert Bourgi has been a stereotypical (or caricatural) French shadowy figure in Africa. He was one of the main “advisors” of the former French president Jacques Chirac, a former Prime Minister, Dominique de Villepin and the current French president, Nicolas Sarkozy. He was a personal friend of Omar Bongo (Gabon) while being quite close to Denis Sassou-Nguesso (Congo-Brazzaville) and Abdoulaye Wade (Senegal). In 2007, Sarkozy even gave him the highest French decoration, the Légion d’Honneur.
On 11 September, in the newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche, Bourgi directly accused Chirac and Villepin of having received money from various African political leaders. According to him, Abdoulaye Wade (Senegal), Blaise Compaoré (Burkina Faso), Laurent Gbagbo (Côte d’Ivoire), Denis Sassou Nguesso (Congo-Brazzaville) and Omar Bongo (Gabon) gave $10 million for Chirac’s campaign in 2002. The following day, he revealed on BFM TV that Jean-Marie Le Pen, the xenophobic former leader of the Front National, a far-right party, received money for his campaign in 1988.
The next French presidential elections will take place on 22 April 2012. For the moment, only one right-wing candidate has not been formally accused of receiving dirty money; this candidate is Nicolas Sarkozy. Coincidence?
Pierre Péan’s last book, La République des Mallettes is the last publication (14/09/2011) to evoke this Françafrique.