It is Saturday, 26 August 2023. We are in West Africa. An election is ongoing with no media coverage, no International Election Observers, and worse still, the internet is switched off! The results are announced at the wee hours of Wednesday morning, 30 August 2023, and VOILA! The winner is President Ali Bongo Ondimba. It is Gabon.
Within the hour of the announcement, a group of senior military officers seized power and put president Ali Bongo under house arrest and it is a Coup-D’état.
Using the Gabonese State Television, Gabon 24, the servicemen who introduced themselves as members of the “Committee of Transition and the Restoration of Institutions”, argued that the country was going through a serious institutional, political, economic and social crises characterized by irresponsible and unpredictable governance, resulting in a continuing deterioration in social cohesion, with the risk of leading the country into chaos. This formed the basis of canceling the just concluded general elections, claiming that the elections were not transparent, credible and inclusive.
The oil rich Gabon acquired its independence from France in 1960, and the presidency has mostly revolved under one family. Ali Bongo Ondimba has been in power since 2009 after the death of his father Omar Bongo Ondimba, the second president, who had been at the helm of power for 42 years since 1967.
The military has assured the public that the deposed leader is under house arrest, surrounded by his family and doctors, but yesterday, Ali Bongo released a video stating otherwise that he has been put under arrest and neither is he in knowledge of his family members whereabouts. Ali Bongo is seen repeatedly calling for help, urging friends of Gabon to make noise about his situation and that of the country at large, seeking for urgent intervention.