Army officers in Gabon took to national television on Wednesday August 30, to declare their assumption of power within the nation. They revealed their intention to nullify the outcome of the recent Saturday election, which had initially declared President Ali Bongo as the victor.
Identifying themselves as members of the CTRI (Committee of Transition and Restoration of Institutions), they emphasized their goal of safeguarding peace by terminating the existing regime.
The electoral commission had earlier reported that Albert Ondo Ossa, Bongo’s primary contender, secured the second position with 30.77% of the votes. Disputing allegations of electoral irregularities made by Ondo Ossa, Bongo’s team rejected his claims.
If this takeover succeeds, it would put an end to the Bongo family’s 53-year dominance in Gabon’s political landscape. President Bongo has governed the oil-rich nation for 14 years. He initially assumed power in 2009 after his father, Omar Bongo Ondimba, passed away. His father had governed the country for an extensive 41-year period.
Before the polls concluded on Saturday, Ondo Ossa had accused Bongo of engaging in “fraud,” asserting that he was the legitimate victor. Alongside the annulment of the election results, one of the army officers stated the dissolution of “all the institutions of the republic.” This encompassed the government, Senate, National Assembly, Constitutional Court, Economic, Social and Environmental Council, and the Gabonese Elections Centre. Additionally, the officers declared the closure of all borders until further notice.
This military takeover follows the recent trends plaguing many west African countries with Niger being the most recent with the ousting of president Mohamed Bazoum by Nigerien military forces.
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