anfom document

Lieutenant Governeur Fousset,
"Rapport Politique Annuel, Année 1932"
(Koulouba, early 1933)
in ANFOM Affaires Politiques, Carton 160

Notes © 1999 by Jim Jones, Ph.D.

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This report opens with a reference to the world economic crisis. Low world prices for primary products has hurt the colony badly. Africans find it difficult to earn enough cash to pay their debts, despite the reduction of taxes for nomads and residents of those areas hurt worst by the crisis. Nevertheless, the loyalty of Africans remains solid.

The author warned that the potential for revolution exists as long as the crisis persists. "Le Gouvernement Général a invité les Chefs des Colonies du Group à redoubler de vigiliance en ce qui concerne l'introduction, la détention et la circulation des armes à feu, de leurs munitions et des poudres" (The Governor Genral asked the leaders of each colony to redouble their vigilance concerning the importation of arms).

The harvest was good everywhere except in Ségou, where drought reduced the millet crop, and in Kayes and Kita, where a disease ("le bagui, lèpre des arachides") affected peanut production.

The relative abundance of local food crops and products had greater significance than the reduction in exports for most of the Soudanese people. The millet crop was excellent. Tests of a new variety called Fétérita showed it to be much better than the local variety.

There was increased area devoted to rice cultivation in Mopti and Goundam. In 1932, it reached roughly 70,000 hectares.

During the year, Moroccan troops occupied the oasis of Tafilalet (at the northern end of the piste from Morocco to Taoudenni). This explained the relative increase in the number of raids ("attaques de rezzous"). Following an earlier succesful attack against a nomad camp, 120 armed men attacked the Groupe Nomade Hodh at Tilguiguil on April 3, 1932. The French response was effective. They forced the attackers to split into three groups. One was annihilated at the well Frékiké by the GNH; another at the well El-Ksa‹b by the GNA (alerted by TSF and aerial reconnaissance) and the last escaped into the region of Zermour (Zebmour?) after losing most of its men.

Markers were placed every 1,500 meters along the trans- Saharan route from Tabankort as far as In-Aeser. These permit motorists to follow the route, even at night, since the earlier aviation markers were too far apart. These new markers consist of an iron post with a rectangular sign painted in red and white stripes.

There has been a reduction in the amount of fighting between groups of nomads, and between nomads and sedentary people.

An effort to increase the salaries of chiefs was only partly successful, but it should reduce the temptation to corruption.

The "Conseils des Notables" (council of African leaders who met with French administrators) is nearly 15 years old and still going strong. However, the nomad groups have little interest in the Conseil des Notables.

The Arrêté de October 20, 1931 forbade forced labor during the periods of cultivation. An experiment was made in the Cercle de Nioro whereby the road from Kayes to Nioro was constructed with professional laborers, modern equipment and specialized foreman. It was partly succesful, but had to be curtailed due to the economic crisis.

Under Moslem affairs, the report mentions the followers of Cheikh Hamalla and his Tidjaniste successors. One is called Fode Sylla, who is a meember of the group "Tidjaniste à 11 grains." He was sent to prison for two months and expelled from his village for two years.

A mobilization exercise for military reservists was held in Freench West Africa for the first time in October 1932.

"Les efforts faits par le parti Communiste pour intensifier la propagande pan-nègre et anti-coloniale sont demeuries sans véritable efficacité" (the efforts of the Communist party to spread pan-African and anti-colonial propaganda have had little effect).

The administration established typed files on criminals and suspects. The Service de la Surété à Bamako received a "l'installation photographique" that will aid in the identification of suspects.

Sixty-six new recruits were sent to relieve the Compagnie de Sapeurs de Chemin de Fer de Bamako.

44,727 men were examined by recruiters. 2,145 were taken into the army of whom 791 were volunteers (roughly half of whom signed up for long terms of 5-6 years). 6,849 were sent to forced labor, 16,613 were rejected, 606 were pardoned, and 10,761 were exempted. In addition, 140 eligible men who were unaccounted for in the previous year presented themselves this year. 3,400 forced laborers were sent to work for the Service Temporaire des Travaux d'Irrigation du Niger, and 1,400 forced laborers were sent to work for the Chemin de Fer Dakar- Niger.

Among other construction expenses for Bamako in 1932, there is an item for 100,000 francs to construct a vegetable market. Kayes got urban lighting and some work done to stabilize the banks of the Senegal River.

This table gives a summary of the written contracts between Africans by type, number and total value in francs. Note that the total does not agree with the other figures, which add up to 153,560.70 francs.

Type of contract Number Total value (francs)
Personal credit transactions (ventes mobilières à credit) 2 875
Personal cash transactions (ventes mobilières au comptant) 0 0
Other personal transactions (ventes mobilières) 3 2,500
Marriage contracts (conventions matrimoniales) 53 22,006.35
Rental contracts (contrats de louage) 5 8,318
Transport contracts (contrats de transport) 0 0
IOUs (Reconnaissances de dettes 95 75,919.35
Inheritance (successions) 8 32,025
Money orders (mandats) 19 378
Other (divers) 16 11,539
Total 181 153,561.70

In the Cercle de Kayes, a serious yellow fever epidemic that began along the Falémé River brought life to a standstill throughout the cercle.

In the Cercle de Bafoulabé, there was better rapport between chiefs and people thanks to increase in the number of inspection tours. This was made possible by the repair of old roads and the creation of new ones. In other words, Bafoulabé experienced a measurable improvement in transport facilities in 1932.

During the year, 1,792 navétanes went to Senegal from Bafoulabé and roughly 1,000 went to Senegal from Kita by railroad.

In the Cercle de Bougouni, a "Croix de la Legion d'Honneur" was given to the chef du canton de Gouantirdougou, M. Nakidian Konate, by the Governeur-General. At the ceremony, Konate said "Les Français tiennant toutes leurs promesses et récompensnt toujours les bons serviteurs" (the French keep all of their promises and reward their good servants).

The piste from Gao to Hombouri was opened to automobiles at the end of November.

From the Cercle de Nara, 589 navétanes went to Senegal.

In the Cercle de Tombouctou, the winter salt caravan involved 3,200 camels