Omar Bongo; Little big man
Posted Monday, June 15 2009 at 00:00
Ministers received me exactly on time, and deferential secretaries had been expecting me.
It was bizarre, like surfing a wave.
In this land of fast cars, tropical spies, and gold trinkets, everyone I met was rich, and was grinning at me like Cheshire cats.
Mr Autogue clearly wanted to keep undesirables away; I did not mind much since I would have another week here after he left (when I did, the opposition parties treated me with suspicion; I felt that they suspected me of being a British agent).
But while Libreville seemed prosperous, it just seemed dull and expensive. I felt like Alice in an African Wonderland. What else might be down this rabbit hole?
Next week: Clan Gabonais, the network that controlled much of African as well as French politics
Reproduced with permission from Poisoned Wells: The dirty politics of African oil by Nicholas Shaxson, published in 2007 by Palgrave Macmillan.