8th Coup Since 2020 in Africa: Military Takes Over in Gabon
Military officers in the oil and manganese rich Gabon has announced they have taken over power from President Ali Bongo who was announced to have won a third term on Saturday evening.
Bongo whose family has ruled the Central African country for 56 years was announced the winner of the August 26 presidential election in the country.
However, senior military officers on Wednesday evening took to the country’s national media to announce they have taken over power on “behalf of the people of Gabon.”
“Today the country is undergoing a severe institutional, political, economic, and social crisis.”
“In the name of the Gabonese people … we have decided to defend the peace by putting an end to the current regime,” they announced.
Reuters reported that “The Gabonese Election Centre had earlier on Wednesday announced that Bongo won the election with 64.27% of the vote and his main challenger, Albert Ondo Ossa, had come in second with 30.77%.”
President Ali Bongo, 64, took over from his father, former President Omar Bongo in 2009, the younger Bongo was re-elected in a highly disputed and controversial election in 2016. President Ali Bongo shortly before the August 26 election has shutdown internet in the country on the pretext that it was done to protect the country from circulation of “fake news and false information.”
In 2016, Ali Bongo also shutdown the internet and only allowed the state owned media to circulate information about the election.
Despite the great wealth of Gabon, most Gabonese live in poverty with the associates of the ruling class accused of living in opulence while the rest of the country live below $1 per day.
The latest coup further acerbates the situation within West and Central Africa where there have been successful coups in Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Chad and Niger.
All the coup plotters accuse the various government of collaborating with external forces to strip their countries of their resources while the people live in abject poverty.
Gabon is also former French colony like the other countries currently under military rule across the West and Central Africa.
There has not been any reaction from France, ECOWAS and the African Union (AU).