AFRICA/GABON - Is there an internal clash within Bongo family's power system behind the coup?

Thursday, 31 August 2023 coup   military   elections  

Libreville (Agenzia Fides) - "This is a crucial moment in the history of Gabon. We must wait and see how events will unfold in the coming days and, above all, what the coup plotters intend to do", local sources tell Fides from Libreville, where the military took power with the arrest of President Ali Bongo Ondimba (see Fides, 30/8/2023) . "Now that the coup leaders have invalidated the elections that, as we recall, were intended to renew the presidency of the republic, the Chamber of Deputies, the Senate and the provincial bodies, a democratic power vacuum has emerged. We'll see , if and how it will be filled," the sources said.
"People, meanwhile, took to the streets to hail the end of the long 'rule' of the Bongo family, which has been in power for 56 years.
There have been scenes of jubilation on the street while no one has so far protested against the coup, to the point that some are wondering where are the voters who 64% would have voted for the outgoing President", our sources said.
"Certainly, those associated with the previous government fear the loss of their privileges and powers, but their room for maneuver is limited", they continue. "The military has extended the curfew already imposed by the Bongo government: it started at 9 p.m., now at 6 p.m. and always ends at 6 a.m. The borders are closed while internet and telephone connections have been restored. The newspapers have not come out while the television stations broadcast communiqués from the military junta".
According to the observers, "the following reflections must be made on the recent events: why were the official results of the elections of August 26 announced at two in the morning? And after fifteen minutes the coup d'état is triggered? Was everything agreed in advance?" .
"The military invalidated the elections and claimed they had been rigged. An accusation made by opposition leader Albert Ondo Ossa before the coup that he won with 70% of the vote, but for now the opposition is keeping a low profile with respect to the coup plotters".
"A final word on the opposition, which in reality is essentially made up of people linked to the Bongo family. Many of them are former ministers of Omar Bongo Ondimba, Ali Bongo Ondimba's father who died in 2009, had fallen out of favor with his son" the sources underline.
In the meantime, the military junta named "Committee for the Transition and the Restoration of Institutions" (CTRI), has appointed General Brice Oligui Nguema, the commander of the Republican Guard, the elite unit supposed to protect life and the power of President Bongo, "president of the transition". Nguema also comes from the circle of the presidential family, or rather from his father, Omar Bongo Ondimba, for whom he was aide-de-camp. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 31/8/2023)