Gabon: Army Officers Declare Seizure of Power In Gabon, a group of army officers has taken control of the situation and made their intentions clear via a broadcast on national television.Gabon is a member of the African Union and began a two-year term as a Non-Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council in 2022. Gabon works closely. Their announcement involves nullifying the results of the recent election held on Saturday, which declared President Ali Bongo as the victor. The election had been contentious, with allegations of fraud from the opposition. President Bongo’s family has held power for 53 years in Gabon, and this move could potentially put an end to their longstanding rule.
On Wednesday, twelve soldiers appeared on television, announcing their decision to invalidate the election results and dissolve all existing state institutions. They have also temporarily closed the country’s borders. Speaking on the Gabon 24 TV channel, one of the soldiers stated that their action is aimed at safeguarding peace by bringing an end to the current regime. He attributed their move to the governance’s irresponsible and unpredictable nature, which has contributed to the deterioration of social unity, risking potential chaos in the nation.
Gabon’s Political Landscape in Flux: Army Officers Assert Control Amid Election Controversy
The soldiers’ declaration was met with gunfire sounds in the capital, Libreville, as reported by journalists from Reuters and AFP news agencies. The government has yet to provide an immediate response to this announcement. The recently concluded election had raised concerns about its fairness, similar to previous elections in Gabon. The main opposition candidate, Albert Ondo Ossa, highlighted issues like missing ballot papers with his name and the presence of withdrawn candidates on the ballot sheets.
Reporters Without Borders noted that foreign media had been prohibited from entering Gabon to cover the election. As the polls closed, the government imposed a curfew and suspended internet access for security reasons. President Ali Bongo’s previous electoral wins had faced accusations of fraud, and this time, modifications to voting materials were made shortly before the election day.
Military Intervention Unfolds: Army Officers Seize Control
Ali Bongo assumed power following his father Omar’s death in 2009. In 2018, he suffered a stroke, leading to calls for his resignation. A failed coup attempt in the subsequent year resulted in the arrest of mutinying soldiers.
The army officers emphasized that their actions represent all security and defense forces in Gabon. Their announcement coincided with the state election body’s declaration of Ali Bongo Ondimba’s victory for a third term in the disputed elections. The officers stated their intention to defend peace by bringing an end to the current regime, citing a lack of respect for the will of the Gabonese people by the government.
Election Turmoil and Opposition’s Demands: Gabon’s Political Strife Intensifies
Tensions have escalated in Gabon, with the opposition demanding change and an end to the long-standing influence of the Bongo family. Following the military’s announcement, reports of gunfire emerged in Libreville. The whereabouts of President Ali Bongo remain unknown as the situation continues to unfold rapidly.
Television announcement comes shortly after state election body announces incumbent Ali Bongo had won a third term as president.