By: Mawuna Remarque KOUTONIN
Did you know many African countries continue to pay colonial tax to France since their independence till today!
When Sékou Touré of Guinea decided in 1958 to get out of french colonial empire, and opted for the country independence, the french colonial elite in Paris got so furious, and in a historic act of fury the french administration in Guinea destroyed everything in the country which represented what they called the benefits from french colonization.
Three thousand French left the country, taking all their property and destroying anything that which could not be moved: schools, nurseries, public administration buildings were crumbled; cars, books, medicine, research institute instruments, tractors were crushed and sabotaged; horses, cows in the farms were killed, and food in warehouses were burned or poisoned.
The purpose of this outrageous act was to send a clear message to all other colonies that the consequences for rejecting France would be very high.
Slowly fear spread trough the african elite, and none after the Guinea events ever found the courage to follow the example of Sékou Touré, whose slogan was “We prefer freedom in poverty to opulence in slavery.”
Sylvanus Olympio, the first president of the Republic of Togo, a tiny country in west Africa, found a middle ground solution with the French.
He didn’t want his country to continue to be a french dominion, therefore he refused to sign the colonisation continuation pact De Gaule proposed, but agree to pay an annual debt to France for the so called benefits Togo got from french colonization.
It was the only conditions for the French not to destroy the country before leaving. However, the amount estimated by France was so big that the reimbursement of the so called “colonial debt” was close to 40% of the country budget in 1963.
The financial situation of the newly independent Togo was very unstable, so in order to get out the situation, Olympio decided to get out the french colonial money FCFA (the franc for french african colonies), and issue the country own currency.
On January 13, 1963, three days after he started printing his country own currency, a squad of illiterate soldiers backed by France killed the first elected president of newly independent Africa. Olympio was killed by an ex French Foreign Legionnaire army sergeant called Etienne Gnassingbe who supposedly received a bounty of $612 from the local French embassy for the hit man job.
Olympio’s dream was to build an independent and self-sufficient and self-reliant country. But the French didn’t like the idea.
On June 30, 1962, Modiba Keita , the first president of the Republic of Mali, decided to withdraw from the french colonial currency FCFA which was imposed on 12 newly independent African countries. For the Malian president, who was leaning more to a socialist economy, it was clear that colonisation continuation pact with France was a trap, a burden for the country development.
On November 19, 1968, like, Olympio, Keita will be the victim of a coup carried out by another ex French Foreign legionnaire, the Lieutenant Moussa Traoré.
In fact during that turbulent period of African fighting to liberate themselves from European colonization, France would repeatedly use many ex Foreign legionnaires to carry out coups against elected presidents:
- On January 1st, 1966, Jean-Bédel Bokassa, an ex french foreign legionnaire, carried a coup against David Dacko, the first President of the Central African Republic.
- On January 3, 1966, Maurice Yaméogo, the first President of the Republic of Upper Volta, now called Burkina Faso, was victim of a coup carried by Aboubacar Sangoulé Lamizana, an ex French legionnaire who fought with french troops in Indonesia and Algeria against these countries independence.
- On 26 October 1972, Mathieu Kérékou who was a security guard to President Hubert Maga, the first President of the Republic of Benin, carried a coup against the president, after he attended French military schools from 1968 to 1970.
- In fact, during the last 50 years, a total of 67 coups happened in 26 countries in Africa, 16 of those countries are french ex-colonies, which means 61% of the coups happened in Francophone Africa.
Number of Coups in Africa by country
After France succeeded the coup, and transferred power to Alassane Outtara, France requested Ouattara government to pay compensation to French business community for the losses during the civil war.
Indeed the Ouattara government paid them twice what they said they had lost in leaving.
#7. Obligation to make French the official language of the country and the language for education
Oui, Monsieur. Vous devez parlez français, la langue de Molière!
A French language and culture dissemination organization has been created called “Francophonie” with several satellites and affiliates organizations supervised by the French Minister of Foreign Affairs.
As demonstrated in this article, if French is the only language you speak, you’d have access to less than 4% of humanity knowledge and ideas. That’s very limiting.
#8. Obligation to use France colonial money FCFA
That’s the real milk cow for France, but it’s such an evil system even denounced by the European Union, but France is not ready to move from that colonial system which puts about 500 billions dollars from Africa to its treasury.
During the introduction of Euro currency in Europe, other european countries discovered the french exploitation scheme. Many, specially the nordic countries, were appalled and suggested France get rid of the system, but unsuccessfully.
#9. Obligation to send France annual balance and reserve report.
Without the report, no money.
Anyway the secretary of the Central banks of the ex-colonies, and the secretary of the bi-annual meeting of the Ministers of Finance of the ex-colonies is carried out by France Central bank / Treasury.
#10. Renonciation to enter into military alliance with any other country unless authorized by France
African countries in general are the ones with will less regional military alliances. Most of the countries have only military alliances with their ex-colonisers! (funny, but you can’t do better!).
In the case France ex-colonies, France forbid them to seek other military alliance except the one it offered them.
#11. Obligation to ally with France in situation of war or global crisis
Over one million africans soldiers fought for the defeat of nazism and fascism during the second world war.
Their contribution is often ignored or minimized, but when you think that it took only 6 weeks for Germany to defeat France in 1940, France knows that Africans could be useful for fighting for la “Grandeur de la France” in the future.
There is something almost psychopathic in the relation of France with Africa.
First, France is severely addicted to looting and exploitation of Africa since the time of slavery. Then there is this complete lack of creativity and imagination of french elite to think beyond the past and tradition.
Finally, France has 2 institutions which are completely frozen into the past, inhabited by paranoid and psychopath “haut fonctionnaires” who spread fear of apocalypse if France would change, and whose ideological reference still comes from the 19th century romanticism: they are the Minister of Finance and Budget of France and the Minister of Foreign affairs of France.
These 2 institutions are not only a threat to Africa, but to the French themselves.
It’s up to us as African to free ourselves, without asking for permission, because I still can’t understand for example how 450 french soldiers in Côte d’Ivoire could control a population of 20 millions people!?
People first reaction when they learn about the french colonial tax is often a question: “Until when?”
For historical comparison, France made Haitito pay the modern equivalent of $21 billion from 1804 till 1947 (almost one century and half) for the losses caused to french slave traders by the abolition of slavery and the liberation of the Haitian slaves.
African countries are paying the colonial tax only for the last 50 years, so I think one century of payment might be left!