France Anti-colonial activist arrested and given extended police custody in Benin

The Franco-Beninese anti-colonial activist Kémi Séba, founder and president of the Pan-African Emergencies movement, is still in police

custody, after his arrest on Saturday December 21, 2019, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

He is accused of having made “outrageous remarks” against President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, we learned Monday from concordant

sources.

It was December 21, 2019 that Kémi Seba took part in a conference against the CFA franc and the French military presence in the Sahel.

This date coincides with the birthday of Thomas Sankara, hero of the Burkinabè revolution and former president, whom Kémi Séba

presents as a “model” to celebrate.

This conference was aimed at offering a free forum for the anti-colonial activist, facing journalists and students.

Applauded on arrival, he answered questions on France’s presence in the Sahel and on the reform of the CFA franc for more than an hour.

The activist compares “the French republic” to a “great terrorist” and “[the] African presidents” to “endogenous terrorists”, by questioning

the sovereignty of African countries: “I wonder if they are not voluntary slaves of French imperialism, “he said.

He then reiterates, microphone in hand, that Roch Marc Christian Kaboré is “a gruyère”, and “a political sieve” who should “take

responsibility” (from the 28th minute on the video). But he does not stop there.

Asked about the reform of the CFA franc, announced the same day by Ivorian presidents Alassane Ouattara and French Emmanuel

Macron in Abidjan, Kémi Séba described the transition to Eco as “cosmetic change”. For him, it is a “semi-compromise”, which cannot be

presented “like a victory”. “Insulting the Head of State”

“Kémi Séba was arrested at his hotel on Saturday afternoon by the national gendarmerie,” Hervé Ouattara, the head of the “Anti-CFA

Front” who organized the debate, told AFP.

His Accusations

“At the beginning, he was brought to the gendarmerie company for security reasons because it seemed, there were young people of the

MPP (People’s Movement for Progress, ruling party) who wanted to harm his physical integrity, “said Kémi Séba’s lawyer, Prosper Farama.

Later, on further instructions from the prosecutor, proceedings were instituted against him for “insulting the head of state,” he said. “He is

accused of having made outrageous remarks against the president of Faso and an attempt to demoralize elements engaged in the fight

against terrorism,” said Ouattara.

Kémi Séba “was heard” on Sunday and, “the investigating agent told us that he was going to transmit the minutes to the prosecutor as soon

as possible,” added Mr. Farama, affirming that he cannot specify “what he risks “.

“A prosecution notification will be made to him by the prosecutor,” a security source told AFP, adding that “Mr. Séba is still in police

custody”. “The prosecutor has not received him and he has yet to remain there,” said his lawyer.

According to his remarks reported by his lawyer, Kémi Séba denies having used certain expressions voluntarily to “shock”. “This is his way

of calling out by raising controversy through his words,” said Farama.

Kémi Séba, whose real name is Stellio Capochichi, presents himself as a “pan-African polemist and speaker”. In recent years, he has

organized or participated in several demonstrations hostile to the CFA franc in Africa.

He has already been arrested or expelled from African countries, such as Côte d’Ivoire, and Benin in March 2019, for “risks of unrest”, and

“incitement to hatred”.

In 2018, he was turned back upon his arrival in Guinea. Previously, he had been expelled from Senegal to France, for having publicly burnt

a 5,000 CFA franc note (7.6 euros). He has already been convicted on several occasions for “incitement to racial hatred” in France in the

past.

By Subiru Madina.