By Daniel Edu
In a development broadcasted on national television, Gabon has witnessed army officers stepping into the forefront on Wednesday, asserting their assumption of authority in the Central African nation, according to a report by BBC.
The officers proclaimed the annulment of the outcomes from Saturday’s election, a contest that had resulted in the declaration of President Ali Bongo as the victor.
Identifying themselves as members of the CTRI (Committee of Transition and Restoration of Institutions), the soldiers conveyed, “In the interest of preserving peace, we have resolved to terminate the current ruling regime.”
The electoral commission had stated that Albert Ondo Ossa, Bongo’s primary competitor, secured the second position with 30.77%. Bongo’s team promptly rebuffed Ondo Ossa’s claims of electoral improprieties.
If successful, this takeover would terminate the 53-year reign of the Bongo family over Gabon.
For the past 14 years, Bongo has held the reins of power in this resource-rich West African country. His ascent came in 2009 after the passing of his father, Omar Bongo Ondimba, who had governed the nation for a remarkable 41-year period.
Prior to the closure of the polls on Saturday, Ondo Ossa had levelled allegations of “fraud” against Bongo while simultaneously asserting his own rightful victory.
As they declared the nullification of the election results, one of the officers stated, “All of the republic’s institutions have been dissolved.”
The complete statement reads:
“Our beloved nation, Gabon, has always stood as a sanctuary of tranquility.
“Presently, our country grapples with a severe crisis encompassing institutions, politics, economy, and society.
“Regrettably, we are compelled to acknowledge that the organization of the general elections held on August 26, 2023, did not meet the prerequisites for an open, credible, and all-encompassing electoral process as envisioned by the Gabonese populace.
“Further exacerbated by reckless and unforeseeable governance, this situation has led to an ongoing erosion of social unity, endangering the nation with potential chaos.
“On this day, August 30, 2023, we, the armed forces and security personnel, gathered under the banner of the Committee for the Transition and Restoration of Institutions (CTRI), representing the Gabonese people and serving as custodians of institutional integrity, have opted to safeguard peace by terminating the existing administration.
“In pursuit of this objective, the general elections held on August 26, 2023, along with the incomplete results, are hereby nullified.
“Until further notice, the nation’s borders have been closed.
“All organs of the Republic are dissolved, including the executive branch, the Senate, the National Assembly, the Constitutional Court, the Economic, Social and Environmental Council, and the Gabonese Elections Centre.
“We implore the populace, the resident communities of neighboring nations, and the Gabonese diaspora to maintain a composed and tranquil demeanor.
“We reassert our commitment to uphold Gabon’s responsibilities to both the national and international communities.
“People of Gabon, we stand at the threshold of a new era of contentment.
“May the divine and the spirits of our forebears bestow their blessings upon Gabon. Fidelity and honor to our homeland.