File photo of the overthrown President Ali Bongo and his wife, Sylvia, acknowledging cheers from the Gabonese public at a public function.
Breaking: Gabon’s military seizes power in Africa’s latest coup d’etat
The military in the Republic of Gabon, Central Africa, has announced the seizure of power after overthrowing the government of the country’s President, Ali Bongo.
Twelve military officers, who claimed that they represented all security and defence forces in Gabon, on Wednesday morning, appeared on national channel’s broadcast to announce the coup d’etat, stressing that they had dissolved ‘all the institutions of the republic.’
The military’s seizure of power in the nation comes shortly after the results of a recent general election were announced.
Reports say loud gunfire was reported across the Gabonese capital, Libreville, in the early hours of Wednesday.
A soldier on TV channel Gabon 24 declared: “We have decided to defend peace by putting an end to the current regime.”
The military also announced that all borders of the country have been closed until further notice.
The coup omes as president Bongo was declared the winner of the country’s presidential election, handing him a third term in power.
The results of the elections had been delayed since Saturday as the opposition claimed, was marred by fraud.
The Gabonese Election Centre (CGE) announced that Mr Bongo secured just under two-thirds of votes cast.
The seizure of power by the Gabonese army would end the Bongo family’s five-decade grip on power in the country.
Mr Bongo took the reins of the oil-rich and poverty-stricken nation in 2009 after the death of his father Omar Bango, who ruled the country for 42 years.
The government has so far issued no comment on Wednesday morning’s developments.
Concerns about the transparency of the electoral process had been raised in the absence of international observers, with the government shutting down internet services and enforcing a nationwide curfew at night following the election.
The election commission head, Michel Bonda, said Mr Bongo won the presidential election with 64.27 per cent of the vote and his challenger, Albert Ondo Ossa, secured 30.77 per cent of the votes.
Mr Bongo’s campaign had rejected the opposition party’s allegations of electoral irregularities.
Gabon’s coup represents the eighth in West and Central Africa since 2020. There have been military takeovers in Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Chad and most recently, Niger.
On 26 July, the military in Niger toppled president Mohamed Bazoum’s government, an important Western ally, sending shockwaves across the Sahel region.
Full speech of the military coupists in Gabon
Our beautiful country Gabon has always been a haven of peace. This country is going through a serious institutional, political, economic and social crisis.
It must also be admitted that the organization of the electoral deadlines known as the general elections of August 26, 2023 did not meet the conditions for a transparent, credible and inclusive ballot so hoped for by Gabonese men and women.
Added to this is an irreproachable, unpredictable governance which results in a continuous deterioration of social cohesion risking to lead the country to chaos.
Today, August 30, 2023, we defense and security forces gathered within the Committee for the Transition and the Restoration of Institutions (CTRI), on behalf of the Gabonese people and guarantors of the protection of institutions have decided to defend peace in putting an end to the regime in place.
To this end, the general elections of August 26, 2023 as well as the truncated results are cancelled. Borders are closed until further notice. All the institutions of the Republic are dissolved. In particular the Government, the Senate, the National Assembly, the Constitutional Court, the economic, social and environmental council, the Gabonese Council for Elections.
We call on the population, the communities of sister countries settled in Gabon as well as the Gabonese of the diaspora for calm and serenity.
We reaffirm our attachment to the respect of Gabon’s commitments vis-à-vis the national and international community.
Gabonese people, it is finally our flight towards happiness.
May God and the ghosts of our ancestors bless Gabon.