A group of senior Gabonese military officers have appeared on national television in the Central African nations’ capital Libreville announcing that they have seized power. The coup’s leaders claim the recent general election in Gabon lacks credibility and say they represent all Gabon’s security and defence forces.
The Gabon coup is the eighth to have taken place in six Sub-Saharan Africa Countries since 2020.
Gabon’s election results were declared fraudulent by opposition
In a general election held last week Gabon’s incumbent president, Ali Bongo, won a third term in the presidential election with 64.27% of the vote according to the Gabonese election centre after an election that the opposition denounced as fraudulent.
During the election foreign media were banned from reporting in Gabon.
Announcing the result, the elections head, Michel Stephane Bonda, said Bongo’s main challenger, Albert Ondo Ossa, came second with 30.77%. Bongo’s team rejected Ondo Ossa’s allegations of electoral irregularities.
Following the coup, Gabon has closed its borders
They Gabon coup leaders announced that the election results were cancelled, all borders were closed until further notice and all state institutions dissolved.
According to the news agency Reuters gunfire could be heard in the capital, Libreville, following the televised announcement.
“In the name of the Gabonese people … we have decided to defend the peace by putting an end to the current regime,” the officers said on television.
The rule of the Bongo family
Ali Bongo came to power in the oil rich state of Gabon (population 2.3 million) in 2009 after his father Omar Bongo died in 2009. Omar Bongo had ‘won’ six elections.
The African continent had seen a decline in the frequency of coups in recent years but there have now been seven coups in five African countries since 2020 (not counting the apparent coup in Gabon today). The coups took place in the following countries:
- Mali (August 2020)
- Chad (April 2021)
- Guinea (September 2021)
- Sudan (October 2021)
- Bakina Faso (January and September 2022)