In a shocking turn of events, a group of senior military officers in Gabon has seized power, citing the lack of credibility in the recent elections held over the weekend.
The officers made their announcement on national television, Gabon24, in the early hours of Wednesday morning. They revealed that they had cancelled the elections, dissolved all state institutions, and closed the country’s borders. Representing all security and defence forces of Gabon, they claimed that their actions were in the best interest of the Gabonese people.
The announcement came shortly after the state election body declared President Ali Bongo Ondimba as the winner of a controversial third term in office. According to the Gabonese Election Centre, Bongo secured 64.27 percent of the vote, while his main challenger, Albert Ondo Ossa, received 30.77 percent.
However, these results were met with scepticism from the opposition camp, who accused Bongo of orchestrating fraud. Their concerns were amplified when the government imposed a curfew and cut off internet access during the election process.
To further suppress dissenting voices and control the narrative, French media outlets, including France 24, RFI, and TV5 Monde, were banned from operating in Gabon. The government accused them of a “lack of objectivity and balance … in connection with the current general elections.” These actions only served to exacerbate the credibility issues surrounding the election and raise suspicions among the Gabonese population.
The military’s intervention comes in response to these concerns and seeks to restore peace and stability in the country. The officers stated that they were acting on behalf of the Gabonese people, who have been deprived of a fair and transparent electoral process. By putting an end to the current regime, they hope to address the grievances and restore confidence in the democratic system.
The international community has been closely monitoring the situation in Gabon, with many expressing their concerns over the validity of the election results. The African Union has called for calm and urged all parties involved to respect the will of the people.
Meanwhile, the Economic Community of Central African States has pledged its support for a peaceful resolution and a return to constitutional order in Gabon.
Bongo, the candidate for the Gabonese Democratic Party, has a strong political legacy to uphold. His father, Omar Bongo, ruled Gabon for over four decades and now Bongo himself has been in power since his father’s passing. Saturday’s election was marked by heightened tensions as the opposition called for change and an end to the Bongo family’s control.
Shortly after the military made their announcement, reports of gunfire in Libreville, the capital of Gabon, surfaced from news agencies Reuters and AFP. The situation remains tense as political forces continue to clash in this pivotal moment for the country.
Agencies contributed to this report