Coup: Military seizes power in Gabon, shuts borders

PRESIDENT of Gabon Ali Bongo Ondimba has been deposed by a group of senior military officials on Wednesday, August 30, following the just concluded general elections, which ushered him in for a third term.

During a broadcast early on Wednesday morning via the national television Gabon 24, the officers said they had cancelled the just concluded elections as the process was not credible.

“In the name of the Gabonese people … we have decided to defend the peace by putting an end to the current regime,” the officers said.

The officers also announced the closure of all borders and dissolved state institutions.

Ondimba was declared winner of the elections held on Saturday, August 26, by the Gabon Election Centre on Wednesday.

He had served two consecutive seven-year terms and contested the third time in 2023 under the Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG), a party founded by his father.

Ondimba’s father was president of Gabon between 1967 and 2009, after which he took over and remained in power until the coup, making it 56 years since his family began ruling the country.

During the elections, the government shut down internet services in the country and announced a curfew towards the end of the voting process, citing a possible outbreak of violence as reason.

Some French media were also suspended on the basis of “a lack of objectivity and balance” in election reporting by the government.

The opposition parties described the election process as a “fraud orchestrated by Ali Bongo and his supporters.”

There was a delay in disclosing the election results, after which the electoral body announced that Ondimba secured 64.27 per cent of the votes cast, defeating his major opponent Albert Ondo Ossa, who got 30.77.

These results were widely disputed by opposition members and some citizens in Gabon.

Bongo had battled ill health during his last tenure. A stroke he suffered in 2018 left him incapacitated and unable to perform official functions for many months. He, however, held on to power regardless of the political instability caused by his illness.

In July 2022, five of Ondimba’s siblings were indicted in a French investigation for embezzlement and laundering of public funds.

There have been growing concerns over the frequency of coups in African countries recently.






     

     

    On Wednesday, July 26, military officials ousted the president of Niger Republic Mohamed Bazoum, imposed a nationwide curfew and suspended all state institutions.

    The coup has resulted in criticism and threats of military intervention by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) who have issued deadlines and sanctions to secure Bazoum’s reinstatement.

    In May, military officials successfully overthrew the sitting government in Mali, citing a relaxed attitude towards the Touareg tribes as a reason.

    Burkina Faso also recorded two successful coups in 2022, and there were other cases of failed attempts in Guinea Bissau and The Gambia, among others.

    Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via [email protected] or @ije_le on Twitter.

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    1 COMMENT

    1. More than 55 years his Family led the Gabon Goverment since 1960s Independent’ and now he want back third Term’ I think Gabon people they re tied about his Family leading’ they Seeks New Goverment and new leaders. and Gabonese People support Military Junta and Election it is not safe and honestly! The Coup it’s get different between Niger Mali Burkina and Guinea Coups’ because Gabon coup it’s Election regime’ but West Africa Coups because of Insecuriy and Economics Crisis’ and all that happen because of Corrupted African Leaders that are not care about their Citizens’ and that it would continue to happen if they are not change their Policy! and if US and its Western Regime not Change I think there is no anything to Change and I believe said’ Oumer Defence Analyst and Diplomacy Expert!!

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