Emily Collins
Tue, Sep 5, 2023 11:35 AM

Gabon's uncertain future: The aftermath of the military coup

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Gabon's uncertain future: The aftermath of the military coup
General Brice Oligui Nguema has become Gabon's interim president following a military coup. However, experts express concerns about the country's uncertain future and the military's intent to relinquish power. The coup reflects a growing trend of political instability and poor governance in Africa. International pressure and the threat of sanctions are expected to play a role in determining the timeline for a return to democratic rule in Gabon.

Abuja, Nigeria - General Brice Oligui Nguema has taken the oath of office as Gabon's interim president following a military coup that ousted President Ali Bongo. The atmosphere at the presidential palace was filled with jubilant supporters and an impressive military display.

However, the events in Gabon have raised concerns among experts and civil society organizations, who foresee an uncertain future for the Central African nation.

In his inauguration speech, General Oligui promised to hold free and transparent elections to restore civilian rule. Yet, the lack of a specific timeline for this transition has led to skepticism and apprehension among observers.

Godbless Otubure, the founder of the pro-democracy nonprofit organization Ready To Lead Africa, openly questions General Oligui's commitment to democratic ideals and suggests a potential desire to cling onto power.

"The military recognizes their incapacity to govern a democratically-run country. When General Oligui omits a timeline, it raises suspicions that he may not have the best interests of the country at heart," Otubure explained.

Throughout Gabon's history, the country has struggled to experience genuine democratic rule. Omar Bongo and his son Ali maintained a grip on power for a staggering 56 years.

Contradicting General Oligui's pledge, Gabon's military leaders have expressed a lack of urgency in returning to democracy, citing the need to avoid repeating past mistakes. This declaration further fuels concerns about the military's willingness to relinquish authority.

The military coup in Gabon is the eighth in West and Central Africa over the past three years, contributing to mounting criticism from global bodies such as the United Nations and the African Union.

As a response to the coup, the African Union has suspended Gabon and threatened the imposition of sanctions if the military fails to reestablish constitutional order. Chris Kwaja, a member of the United Nations Working Group on the use of mercenaries, highlights that sanctions can lead to compliance.

"Even in the case of Niger, the three-year transition period was a result of pressure from ECOWAS and other actors. Initially, there was no clear-cut timeline, and Gabon appears to be following a similar pattern. When faced with international pressure, they will unveil a timetable. This has become a characteristic observed in military rule, where they only act when subjected to pressure," Kwaja said.

The trend of military takeovers across Africa is partly attributed to poor governance and the decline in the quality of leadership. Citizens celebrating the removal of a government reflect the disillusionment with their governing officials, as Paul James, an elections program officer at the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth, and Advancement (YIAGA Africa), suggests.

Concerns about the failure of the democratic experiment in Africa are growing. Civil society organizations and international bodies must continue to exert pressure to ensure a smooth transition to democratic rule in Gabon and uphold the pursuit of good governance.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-09-05 News

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