AFRICA/GABON - After coup: General Olingui sworn in as interim President

Tuesday, 5 September 2023 coup   military  

Libreville (Agenzia Fides) - "The situation is calm. The population seems to be happy about the change and has high hopes for the new institutions that have made many promises and arouse many expectations. We will see if they are disappointed or not", local sources in Libreville tell Fides. Yesterday, September 4, General Brice Oligui Nguema was sworn in as interim president in the capital of Gabon. Oligui took power after the coup of August 30, in which the military announced the "end of the regime" of Ali Bongo Ondimba, who ruled Gabon for 14 years and is accused of electoral fraud (see Fides, 30/8/2023). Shortly before, his re-election in the August 26 elections had been announced. The following day, the coup leaders appointed the commander of the Republican Guard, General Oligui, as chairman of the Committee for Transition and Restoration of Institutions (CTRI). Immediately afterwards, General Oligui began hours of talks with all the "living forces of the nation": religious leaders, businessmen, trade unions, civil society, political parties and former ministers, representatives of non-governmental organizations, diplomats and journalists. During the swearing-in ceremony, Gabon's new "strongman" pledged to organize "free, transparent, credible and peaceful elections," without specifying when. But only after he had passed a new constitution "without haste" and "by referendum" for "more democratic institutions" and "with respect for human rights". Oligui also promised an amnesty for prisoners serving time in prison for opinion crimes. State television showed images of cheering crowds. Meanwhile, Gabon's main opposition coalition, Alternance 2023, is also claiming victory in the August 26 elections and calling on the international community to encourage the junta to return power to a civilian ruler. The African Union, the European Union, the UN and most western capitals condemned the coup. The Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC/ECCAS) suspended Gabon from the organization at a meeting in Equatorial Guinea. The President of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, stated in this context that "Gabon poses a threat to the peace, security and stability of the other member countries". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 5/9/2023)