Five days after the ouster of Ali Bong, who ruled the country for 14 years, General Brice Oligui Nguema was sworn in as Gabon’s “transitional” president. However, he did not specify how long this transition would take, promising to establish “more democratic institutions” before free elections. On August 30, coup soldiers announced the end of Ali Bong Ondimba’s regime, shortly after his re-election in August 26 elections, which they believed to be rigged.
General Oligui, 48, was named president of the Committee for Transition and Reconstruction of Institutions (CTRI) the day after the coup. Dressed in the red uniform of the Republican Guard (GR), the elite military unit he commanded, he took the oath before the judges of the Constitutional Court, swearing before God and the people of Gabon to faithfully preserve the republican regime and the achievements of democracy.
In addition, General Oligui promised to return power to civilians through free, transparent and credible elections, without specifying a date. He also requested the participation of all living forces of the nation in the drafting of the new Constitution, which will then be submitted to a referendum, in order to establish institutions that respect human rights and democracy. After this process, he intends to hand over power to civilians by organizing democratic elections.
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Gabon was ruled for more than 55 years by the Bongo family, who accumulated great wealth from their oil reserves. However, this elite has been accused of massive corruption and mismanagement.
Ali Bongo Ondimba, 64, succeeded his father Omar Bongo Ondimba in 2009 and has been under house arrest since the coup. Omar Bongo Ondimba was considered one of the main players in “Françafrique”, a system of political cooperation, commercial privileges and corruption between France and some of its former colonies in Africa.
The coup in Gabon, described by Spanish Minister Josep Borrell as an “institutional coup”, has been condemned by the African Union, the European Union, the UN and many Western capitals. However, some countries pointed out the difference compared to other coups on the continent, as this one followed clearly fraudulent elections. No deaths or injuries have been reported so far.