Gabon: Military Junta Declares Suspension of Democracy ‘Temporary’

The leader of the military coup in Gabon has promised to restore democracy but has declined to give a timetable for new elections.

The country’s governmental institutions would become more democratic, Gen. Brice Oligui Nguema reportedly remarked, adding its suspension was only “temporary.”

The alliance of Gabon’s opposition, however, claims that there are no indications that the military would return to civilian rule.

This week, Ali Bongo, the ousted president, was put under house arrest.

Army officers announced their takeover on state television in the early hours of Wednesday, ending the Bongo family’s 55-year rule of the central African state.

They declared the results of the presidential election held on Saturday, which the opposition claimed was rigged and in which Mr. Bongo was pronounced the victor.

In a televised speech on Friday night, Gen. Nguema stated that the military would act “quickly but surely” to prevent elections that “repeat the same mistakes” by maintaining the same individuals in power.

Going as swiftly as possible does not entail holding impromptu elections, where we will make the same mistakes, the man remarked.

The world community was encouraged on Friday to support the return to civilian rule by Alternance 2023, the opposition party in Gabon that claims it is the legitimate winner of the election that took place on Saturday.

Alexandra Pangha, a spokeswoman for Alternance 2023 leader Albert Ondo Ossa, told the BBC, “We were happy that Ali Bongo was overthrown, but we hope that the international community will stand up in favor of the Republic and the democratic order in Gabon by asking the military to give back the power to the civilians.”

She continued by calling the proposal for Gen. Nguema to take the oath of office as interim president on Monday “absurd”.

After Niger, Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, and Chad since 2020, the coup in Gabon is the eighth to occur in West and central Africa.

The UN, the African Union, and France—its former colonial power with strong ties to the Bongo family—have all criticized it.

In a video recorded at his house this week, Mr. Bongo, who has been in charge since 2009, pleaded with his “friends all over the world” to “make noise” on his behalf.

But many Gabonese who had grown tired of his and his family’s rule have also welcomed his removal.

People were observed celebrating the army’s statement earlier this week in Libreville, the country’s capital, and other places.