This video grab taken from Gabon 24 shows Gabonese soldiers appearing on television on August 30, 2023 announcing they were “putting an end to the current regime” and the cancellation of an election that, according to official results, President Ali Bongo Ondimba won. – During the announcement, AFP journalists heard gunfire ring out in the Gabonese capital, Libreville. While announcing the cancellation of the results one of the soldiers announced the dissolution of “all the institutions of the republic”. “We have decided to defend peace by putting an end to the current regime”, one of the soldiers said on TV channel Gabon 24, adding that he was speaking on behalf of the “Committee for the Transition and Restoration of Institutions”. “To this end, the general elections of 26 August 2023 and the truncated results are cancelled,” he added. “All the institutions of the republic are dissolved: the government, the Senate, the National Assembly and the Constitutional Court,” he added, announcing the closure of the country’s borders “until further notice”. Among the soldiers were members of the Republican Guard as well as soldiers of the regular army and police officers. (Photo by – / Gabon 24 / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE – MANDATORY CREDIT “AFP PHOTO / GABON 24” – NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS – DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS – RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE – MANDATORY CREDIT “AFP PHOTO / GABON 24” – NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS – DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS /
Gabonese President Ali Bongo appeared in a video at his home calling on his “friends all over the world” to “make noise” on his behalf after military officers appeared on national television yesterday to say they had seized power and placed the President under house arrest.
They also announced they were annulling the results of an election on Saturday – in which President Bongo was declared the winner – and closing the country’s borders. The development came after Bongo was declared the winner of Saturday’s election. Bongo has been placed in retirement, the head of the country’s presidential guard has told French newspaper Le Monde.
“He is a Gabonese head of state. He is retired and enjoys all his rights. He is a normal Gabonese, like everyone else,” Gen. Brice Oligui Nguema said. It’s unclear who is in charge of the country – the head of the presidential guard denies he’s been installed leader – though he says President Bongo is now “retired”, reports the BBC.
“I am not declaring myself yet, I am not considering any- thing at the moment,” he told the French newspaper. “It is a debate we will have with all the generals.” Bongo’s overthrow would end his family’s 56-year hold on power in the resource-rich West African country.
This would be the eighth coup in former French colonies in Africa in the past three years; France has condemned the latest events. And hundreds of people have taken to the streets of Libreville, the capital of Ga- bon, to celebrate the country’s change of leadership.
Meanwhile, Gabon has been the top trend worldwide today on Twitter, now known as X, with an overwhelmingly positive reaction. This is unlike other recent coups in Africa which have had a much more mixed or negative response. TikTok has also seen people expressing their hope that the coup will “save” the oil-rich na- tion from the nearly six decades of the Bongo family in power.
“It’s senseless to say one family ruled a particular country for 54 years, and still call it ‘a democracy’,” one tweet said. Despite the coup’s popular support, some social media users warn that Gabon’s real test has just begun, and that the country will only experience real change if the military hands over power through fresh democratic elections.