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My India First

Gabon Coup Chief Will Not Rush to Elections Regardless of Mounting Strain

The chief of a coup that this week overthrew Gabon’s President Ali Bongo stated Friday that he needed to keep away from dashing into elections that “repeat previous errors,” as stress mounted on the junta at hand again energy to a civilian authorities.

Army officers led by Normal Brice Oligui Nguema seized energy Wednesday, minutes after an announcement that Bongo had secured a 3rd time period in an election.

The officers positioned Bongo below home arrest and put in Nguema as head of state, ending the Bongo household’s 56-year maintain on energy.

The coup — West and Central Africa’s eighth in three years — drew cheering crowds onto the streets of the capital Libreville however condemnation from overseas and at dwelling.

Nguema stated in a televised tackle on Friday night that the junta would proceed “shortly however certainly” however that it might keep away from elections that “repeat the identical errors” by conserving the identical folks in energy.

“Going as shortly as attainable doesn’t imply organizing advert hoc elections, the place we are going to find yourself with the identical errors,” he stated.

Central African regional bloc ECCAS has urged companions led by the United Nations and the African Union to assist a speedy return to constitutional order, it stated in a press release after a rare assembly Thursday. It stated it might reconvene Monday.

Gabon’s major opposition group, Alternance 2023, which says it’s the rightful winner of Saturday’s election, urged the worldwide neighborhood on Friday to encourage the junta at hand energy again to civilians.

“We have been completely satisfied that Ali Bongo was overthrown however … we hope that the worldwide neighborhood will rise up in favor of the Republic and the democratic order in Gabon by asking the army to offer again the facility to the civilians,” Alexandra Pangha, spokesperson for Alternance 2023 chief Albert Ondo Ossa, informed the BBC.

She stated that the junta’s plan to inaugurate Nguema as head of state on Monday was “absurd.”

Crackdown on Bongo entourage

Bongo was elected in 2009, taking up from his late father who got here to energy in 1967. Opponents say the household did little to share Gabon’s oil and mining wealth.

For years the Bongo household occupied an expensive palace overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. They personal costly vehicles and properties in France and america, usually paid for in money, based on a 2020 investigation by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Venture, a worldwide community of investigative journalists.

In the meantime, virtually a 3rd of the nation’s 2.3 million folks dwell in poverty.

Army leaders ordered the arrest of one in every of Bongo’s sons, Noureddin Bongo Valentin, and a number of other members of Bongo’s Cupboard early on Wednesday on accusations starting from alleged embezzlement to narcotics trafficking.

State broadcaster Gabon 24 stated Thursday that duffel luggage filled with money wrapped in plastic had been confiscated from the properties of assorted officers. Its footage included a raid on the home of former Cupboard director Ian Ghislain Ngoulou.

Standing subsequent to Bongo Valentin, he informed the channel that the cash was a part of Bongo’s election fund. It was unclear when the pictures have been shot.

Attorneys for Bongo’s spouse stated on Friday that Bongo Valentin was incarcerated in an undisclosed location, and the household have been involved about his security.

The streets of Libreville have been calm on Friday below a heavy safety power presence. Discuss centered on the junta’s response.

“You want politicians to handle a transition, and above all a state,” stated retired Libreville resident Timothe Moutsinga.

“We anticipate so much from this authorities and this transition, a switch of energy to civilians.”

The takeover in Gabon follows coups in Guinea, Chad and Niger, plus two every in Mali and Burkina Faso since 2020. The takeovers have erased democratic good points in a area the place insecurity and widespread poverty have weakened elected governments, worrying worldwide powers with strategic pursuits at stake.

The White Home stated on Friday that it was pursuing “viable diplomatic options” to the conditions in each Gabon and Niger, the place a coup ousted President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26.

Alternance 2023 has stated it desires a full vote depend from Saturday’s election, which it stated would present Ondo Ossa had gained. Gabon’s election fee stated after the election that Bongo had been re-elected with 64% of the vote, whereas Ondo Ossa secured virtually 31%. Poll counting was achieved with out impartial observers amid an web blackout.

Pangha stated the opposition hoped to get an invite from the junta to debate the Central African nation’s transition plan however stated it had not acquired something but.

The African Union’s Peace and Safety Council on Thursday referred to as for honest and clear elections. It stated it can impose sanctions on the coup leaders if they don’t restore constitutional order.

France, Gabon’s former colonial ruler, and different Western powers have condemned the takeover.

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