A cohort of high-ranking military officials in Gabon has appeared on national television, asserting that they have taken control of the government due to their perception that the recently held elections lacked credibility.
The officers, who made their appearance on Gabon24 during the early hours of Wednesday, declared that they had invalidated the election results, dissolved all governmental institutions, and sealed off the country’s borders.
They claimed to be acting on behalf of Gabon’s security and defense forces.
This declaration was made shortly after the official election commission announced that President Ali Bongo Ondimba had secured a third term in office following the contentious elections held on Saturday.
“In the interest of the Gabonese populace… we have chosen to safeguard peace by terminating the existing regime,” the officers proclaimed.
According to the Gabonese Election Centre, Bongo garnered 64.27 percent of the vote, while his primary rival Albert Ondo Ossa received 30.77 percent, amidst a process marred by delays.
Catherine Soi, reporting from Kenya for Al Jazeera, conveyed the uncertainties surrounding the military’s actions and noted the heightened tension. The military leaders alleged that the government had disregarded the wishes of the Gabonese people for numerous years and insisted that this needed to change.
During Saturday’s events, the opposition camp accused the election of being a “fraud orchestrated by Ali Bongo and his supporters,” especially after the internet was shut down and a curfew was implemented. Additionally, French media outlets such as France 24, RFI, and TV5 Monde were banned for displaying “a lack of fairness and impartiality… in relation to the ongoing general elections,” as stated by the government.
Soi highlighted the ongoing internet shutdown and curfew, which have left Gabonese citizens anxious and inhibited their access to vital information. The situation has made it challenging for people in Gabon to remain informed about the unfolding events.
Source: Al Jazeera