As his cousin took over from him as leader, a desperate, deposed President Ali Bongo of Central African country of Gabon is calling on the Gabonese people and friends of the country to “make noise” to force the hand of soldiers who sacked his government on Wednesday.
Bongo’s plea to the public came in a video from house arrest as it emerged that his cousin, Col. Brice Clothaire Oligui Nguema, the commander-in-chief of the Gabonese Republican Guard – the country’s most powerful security unit, is his successor.
The latest victim of a military putsch on the continent, after Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso is a source of worry to President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria, who has been finding a way to resolve the political logjam in Niger, sending a delegation of Islamic clerics to find negotiate a way to re-instate sacked President Mohamed Bazoum.
The military officers in Gabon accused Bongo of high treason, adding that other government officials and Bongo’s son, Nouredine Bongo, had been arrested.
They announced the power seizure shortly after the country’s electoral body named him a winner for a third term in office. The officers said the election results were falsified.
Bongo has been in power since 2009, when he succeeded his father, Omar Bongo, who ruled Gabon for 42 years.
Tinubu expressed concern over the coup with his spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, telling State House correspondents in Abuja that his boss would consult other Heads of State and Government in the African Union to determine the way forward.
‘’President Bola Tinubu is watching closely with deep concern for the country’s social political stability and at the seeming autocratic contention apparently spreading across different regions of our beloved continent.
‘’The president as a man who has made significant sacrifices in his life in the course of advancing and defending democracy is of the belief that power belongs in the hands of Africa’s great people and not in the barrel of a loaded gun,’’ he said.
Ngelale added that the president affirmed that the rule of law and recourse to the constitutional resolutions and instruments of electoral dispute needed to be used in the matters of democratic challenges.
‘’To this end, the President is working very closely and continues to communicate with other Heads of States in the African Union.
‘’This is towards a comprehensive consensus on the next steps forwards with respect to how the power in Gabon will play out and how the continent will respond to contagious autocracy spreading across the continent,” he said.