Coup: Gabon gets interim president, vows to restore nation through “free, transparent, and credible elections”


Gabon’s coup leader, General Brice Oligui Nguema has vowed to restore civilian rule through “free, transparent, and credible elections” after being sworn in as interim president on Monday, September 4.

In a speech after taking the oath of office, General Nguema said the elections would be the stepping stone to “handing power back to the civilians,” although he did not give a timeline.

Oligui said he was seeking the participation of all of Gabon’s “core groups” to draft a new constitution, which “will be adopted by referendum.”

He also said he would be instructing “the future government to consider ways of amnestying prisoners of conscience” and “facilitating the return of all exiles” from abroad.

Oligui, 48, who is head of the elite Republican Guard, led a coup that brought the curtain down on 55 years of dynastic rule by President Ali Bongo Ondimba and his father Omar, who died in 2009.

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Bongo’s ouster came just moments after he had been proclaimed victor in presidential elections last month, a result branded a fraud by the opposition.

Oligui said he was “surprised” at foreign criticism of the coup.

‘’The military had been prompted by a desire to avoid bloodshed following an electoral process that was obviously loaded,” he said.

“We are greatly surprised to hear certain international organisations condemn the act taken by soldiers who were simply upholding their oath to the flag — to save their country at the risk of their lives,” he said.

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