A man cooks chicken at a market stall a day after President Ali Bongo Ondimba was ousted in a coup in Libreville, Gabon, 31 August 2023. EFE-EPA/STR

Gabon’s coup leader promises democratic reforms

Libreville, Sep 2 (EFE).- Gabon’s military ruler, who seized power in a coup, has promised reforms to further democratize the country’s institutions.

People shop in a market a day after President Ali Bongo Ondimba was ousted in a coup in Libreville, Gabon, 31 August 2023. EFE-EPA/STR

The coup leader, General Brice Oligui Nguema, made the promise following a meeting with the country’s political parties and civil society leaders on Friday, two days after the coup that ended 55 years of rule by the Bongo family in the former French colony.

Oligui was named “transitional president” and would be inaugurated on Monday to head the Committee for the Transition and Restoration of Institutions.

In a speech broadcast on state television on Friday, Oligui called on all political party leaders to participate in the transition process and build strong institutions for the people of Gabon.

“The dissolution of the institutions is temporary. It is a measure to reorganize them and make them more democratic,” he said.

However, he did not mention how long the transition period will last, saying it will be decided jointly with the country’s political parties, which are “free” to “continue their activities.”

The strongman of the Gabonese military has stepped up his contact with civil society leaders, politicians, and businessmen.

He urged business leaders to commit to the “development of the country,” rich in oil resources.

The military seized power in Libreville on Wednesday, alleging widespread fraud in the elections, which ousted President Ali Bongo won with over 67 percent of the vote, while his nearest rival Albert Ondo Ossa received nearly 33 percent.

Before Bongo could assume his third term, a group of military officers from the elite presidential guard took control, invalidated the election results, and placed him under house arrest.

Bongo assumed power in 2009 after the death of his father, Omar Bongo, who had ruled the country since 1967.

Earlier in July, the military seized power in Niger, West Africa.

Niger’s neighboring countries, Mali, Guinea-Conakry, and Burkina Faso, are already under military dictatorship. EFE