There have been several coups in African countries recently, including Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger. In a similar move, Gabon’s military removed the current president after controversial election results. The coup was announced on national television in Gabon during the early hours of Wednesday, August 30th, 2023. The military stated that they had cancelled the election, dissolved all state institutions, and closed the country’s borders. As a result, the incumbent, President Ali Bongo, has been deposed.
The individuals in question alleged they were the official representatives of Gabon’s security and defence forces.
The recent removal of Bongo from power marks the end of his family’s reign of 53 years in Gabon. Bongo had been the leader of the oil-rich West African country for 14 years, taking over from his father, Omar Bongo Ondimba, who had held the position for 41 years. Despite opposition from rival political groups, Bongo was elected for a third term in office in the controversial 2009 election after his father’s passing.
Opposition candidate Ondo Ossa accused Bongo of “fraud” and claimed to be the rightful winner before the polls closed on Saturday. During the announcement of the cancellation of the vote results, one of the officers stated that “all the institutions of the republic” had been dissolved. The officers mentioned in their takeover speech,
“In the name of the Gabonese people … we have decided to defend the peace by putting an end to the current regime,”.
“Our beautiful country, Gabon, has always been a haven of peace.
“Today, the country is going through a serious institutional, political, economic and social crisis.
“We are therefore forced to admit that the organisation of the general elections of 26 August 2023 did not meet the conditions for a transparent, credible and inclusive ballot so much hoped for by the people of Gabon.
“Added to this is irresponsible and unpredictable governance, resulting in a continuing deterioration in social cohesion, with the risk of leading the country into chaos.
“Today, 30 August 2023, we — the defence and security forces, gathered as the Committee for the Transition and Restoration of Institutions (CTRI) on behalf of the people of Gabon and as guarantors of the institutions’ protection — have decided to defend peace by putting an end to the current regime.
“To this end, the general elections of 26 August 2023 and the truncated results are cancelled.
“The borders are closed until further notice.
“All the institutions of the Republic are dissolved: the government, the Senate, the National Assembly, the Constitutional Court, the Economic, Social and Environmental Council and the Gabonese Elections Centre.
“We call for calm and serenity from the public, the communities of sister countries settled in Gabon, and the Gabonese diaspora.
“We reaffirm our commitment to respecting Gabon’s commitments to the national and international community.
“People of Gabon, we are finally on the road to happiness.
“May God and the spirits of our ancestors bless Gabon. Honour and loyalty to our homeland.
There are ongoing efforts to address the issue of a democratically elected president being forcibly removed from power in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger Republic. In this situation, new developments have arisen in Gabon, which doesn’t brood well for the African Body, especially in nations where lousy governance has been the order of the day, as these successful revolutions may stir the people up in other locations. It is worth noting that at this time, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU) have condemned the coup in Niger but have yet to issue an official response regarding the situation in Gabon. As events continue to unfold, how these regional organizations will respond to this latest turn of events remains to be seen.