Military Officers Oust Ali Bongo in Gabon Coup
By Adedapo Adesanya
Gabon has become the latest African country to experience a military takeover as military officers appeared on television on Wednesday night, announcing they were putting an end to the current regime and cancelling an election that saw President Ali Bongo Ondimba win another extension to his rule.
Mr Bongo’s whereabouts are unknown, according to reports as of press time.
While announcing the cancellation of the vote results, one of the officers said “all the institutions of the republic” had been dissolved.
The address was read by an officer flanked by a group of a dozen army colonels, members of the elite Republican Guard, regular soldiers, and others.
It came moments after the national election authority said Mr Bongo had won a third term in Saturday’s election with 64.3 per cent of the vote. The main rival, Mr Albert Ondo Ossa, won just 30.77 per cent of the vote.
Mr Bongo has been in power for 14 years in the oil-rich Central African country.
“Today, the country is going through a serious institutional, political, economic, and social crisis,” the unnamed officer said on TV channel Gabon 24.
He said the recent election “did not meet the conditions for a transparent, credible, and inclusive ballot so much hoped for by the people of Gabon.”
“We have decided to defend peace by putting an end to the current regime,” the officer said, adding that he was speaking on behalf of the “Committee for the Transition and Restoration of Institutions”.
The statement was also broadcast on Gabon 1 public television.
“To this end, the general elections of 26 August 2023 and the truncated results are cancelled,” he added.
Mr Bongo was first elected president of Gabon in 2009, four months after the death of his father, Mr Omar Bongo, who had ruled the country for 42 years (since 1967). He secured a second seven-year term in 2016.