A GROUP of senior military officers on Wednesday announced the takeover of government in Central African country of Gabon, ending the reign of President Ali Bongo.
The officers who appeared on national television said they were annulling the results of Saturday’s election, in which President Ali Bongo was declared the winner.
The coup in Gabon becomes the seventh coup in Africa since 2019.
According to media reports early Wednesday, the senior military officers made this known through an announcement on national television.
They said they seized power because elections held over the weekend were not credible. They cancelled the elections, dissolved all state institutions and closed the country’s borders.
Gabon held an election on Saturday to elect a leader, the elections returned disputed after the electoral body announced incumbent President Ali Bongo as winning a third term.
Mr Bongo has been president since 2009 following the death of his father. “The Gabonese Election Centre said Bongo had secured 64.27 per cent of the vote compared with 30.77 per cent for his main challenger Albert Ondo Ossa, after a process beset by delays,” Aljazeera said.
According to the BBC, gunshots are being heard across the capital, Libreville and the whereabouts of the president remains unknown.
The coup is coming barely a month after the July 26th coup in Niger Republic which is creating a lot of political tension on the continent.
The soldiers who introduced themselves as members of the CTRI (The Committee of Transition and Restoration of Institutions) said: “We have decided to defend peace by putting an end to the regime in power.”
The electoral commission said Bongo’s main challenger, Albert Ondo Ossa, had come in second place with 30.77%. Bongo’s team have rejected Ossa’s allegations of electoral irregularities.
Bongo’s overthrow would end his family’s 53-year hold on power in Gabon.
The full statement announcing the takeover:
“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.