The range of information that flows since the beginning of President Talon’s term in Benin Republic, and the ongoing situation call for reflexion on analysing in depth without emotional attached, but only with keen interest in objectivity. The trends lead us to one critical question : are we dealing with a political crisis or an outcome of conspiracy ?
Undeniable facts of political crisis
Some events could be considered as indicators of political crisis, among them stand out the so called « exclusion of political parties » belonging to the opposition. Even though this was legally and administratively right, it appears to not be politically correct in the sense that they people that felt excluded have a certain influence on part of the population, influence worth of compromising the peace of the country. Former presidents Thomas Boni Yayi and Nicephore Soglo must obviously have people loyal to them till death, without clouding the political experience of the former President of the National Assembly Adrien Houngbedji, reason why extreme cautions could have been taken to get them involved. However, the failure of the consensus is on both sides, but only one will probably be kept in mind at the end it: the government, for when you are in charge you are always to be blamed.
The shut down of internet during the legislative elections that the government justified by the need to prevent the publication of fake news the day of the vote could be considered as a tremendous mistake in violating not only the freedom of communication, but has affected several businesses and disrupted the daily activities of some institutions as well as citizens. This has been a gift to the sbires already alarming the international community about the dictatorial character of the beninese government. Looking at the lack of comment showing concerns about the more than 70 percent of abstention of the population that did not vote during the elections was not helpful to the government. During the Cadjehoun protest following the elections and the recent Tchaourou violences citizens have died, falling under the bullets of the police and army forces in an attempt to maintain the public order. The Abduction of two French tourists and the killing of a fellow beninese citizen, Mister Fiacre Gbedji by terrorists at the Pendjari park has added a terrorism dimension to the crisis. Till date, no much has been revealed on the circumstances of the beninese citizen even though French hostages that were taken to Burkina Faso have been released. With all the above facts it is not prudent and mature to strongly deny the existence of a political crisis. However, did we get there simply because of the behavior of the leadership or some hands in the shadow have significantly contributed ?
Probable roots of a conspiracy
Hints of a probable conspiracy could be appreciated from the facts brought forward by the advocates of the conspiracy theory. It is important to say that the political tension among the leaders overtook their self-control just after the refusal of the parliament to even look at the content of the government’s project to revise the constitution of december 1990. But the conspiracy theory could be traced back to the controversal deal on the Benin and Niger rail road management that was not finally given to Boloré, a strong French business company. Actually the deal was first in favor of the French giant that had already engaged some interesting investments in the job to do, but unfortunately a judiciary decision taken after an appeal changed everything. This is normally a judiciary decision that has nothing to do with the government, but some believe that it is a key element that motivated the probable conspiracy. The President requested the return to Benin of all the ancients cultural and artistic belongings of the country that have been taken away by the French years ago, before independence and kept in the French museums with an interesting capability to generate incomes. Due to the request, the process of returning those belongings has started and is on a good way according to the official version.
The fake news trends demonstrated huge contrast between the broadcasted contents of the project of the revison of the constitution and the reality, according to the words of the president who did not hesitate to express it directly on RFI about the. Recently a picture of leg hurt with bullet has been used by the journalist Emmanuelle Sodji to illustrate the gravity of harms done to civilians during the Tchaourou violences for a french international news institution. It has been revealed that the picture used is from a situation that happened in Gabon. The latest information provided by France 24 was the one related to the former president Boni Yayi being compelled to meet the juge for a hearing on the matter of post electoral violences upon written instruction of the General Attorney. The latter immediately deny such allegation that has not so far be proven by the France 24 news institution. The interference of the French political class in the crisis through the statements of parliamentarians and former French President François Hollande is not to be clouded. By connecting the above dots that the proponents of a probable conspiracy theory involving France are building up their idea. Backed up in their development by the propaganda strategy used by France some years ago in Ivory Coast, facts that became today public knowledge presented to the world by several experts. However for any conspiracy to be carried out the complicity of the people is necessary, therfore we are the first to be blamed.
The above analysis is made on the basis of the information available here and there, but more accurate investigations are necessary to even start believing in a real probable conspiracy theory involving France in the ongoing situation in Benin Republic. The same way more critical data that is accessible to the public is definitely required to confirm with authority the existence of a real political crisis in Benin Republic. But the feeling of navigating between political crisis and conspiracy theory is a fact. The way forward today is the rebuilt of trust and social cohesion that seem to have been damaged in order to maintain an appropriate environment for development in Benin Republic. And some steps are taken in that line by the traditional leaders and the government. Hopefully the various political leaders will join very soon for the sake of the Country.