In a stunning turn of events, senior Gabonese military officers have taken to national television to announce the seizure of power, citing concerns over the credibility of the recent general election. The officers claim to represent all of Gabon’s security and defense forces. Amid this announcement, sounds of gunfire echoed through the capital, Libreville, adding to the tension.
The military officers declared the cancellation of the election results, closure of borders until further notice, and dissolution of state institutions. This move follows the recent announcement that incumbent President Ali Bongo secured a third term in the presidential election, winning with 64.27% of the vote. The opposition had criticized the election, alleging fraud and irregularities.
The victory for President Bongo would have extended his family’s long-standing control over Gabon for over five decades. However, these latest developments could potentially bring an end to the family’s 53-year hold on power.
The election results were announced by Michel Stephane Bonda, the head of the Gabonese election center, in the early hours. Bongo’s main challenger, Albert Ondo Ossa, secured second place with 30.77% of the vote. Bongo’s team has rejected Ondo Ossa’s allegations of electoral irregularities.
The aftermath of Saturday’s elections saw heightened tensions as Bongo sought to maintain his family’s grip on power, while the opposition pushed for change in the central African nation, which is rich in oil but struggling with poverty.
Concerns about the transparency of the electoral process were raised due to a lack of international observers, suspension of foreign broadcasts, and the government’s decision to cut internet service and impose a nationwide night-time curfew following the polls.
The situation remains fluid and updates are expected to follow as events continue to unfold.