A group of senior Gabonese military officers appeared on national television in the early hours of Wednesday and said they had taken power, minutes after the state election body announced President Ali Bongo had won a third term.
Appearing on television channel Gabon 24, the officers said they represented all security and defence forces in the Central African nation. They said the election results were cancelled, all borders closed until further notice and state institutions dissolved.
Loud sounds of gunfire could be heard in the capital Libreville, a Reuters reporter said, after the television appearance.
There was no immediate comment from the government of the OPEC-member nation.
“In the name of the Gabonese people … we have decided to defend the peace by putting an end to the current regime,” the officers said.
As one officer read the joint statement, around a dozen others stood silently behind him in military fatigues and berets.
Gabon’s incumbent president, Ali Bongo, won a third term in the presidential election with 64.27% of the vote, the Gabonese election centre said on Wednesday, after a delay-plagued general election that the opposition denounced as fraudulent.
[8/30, 9:27 AM] +234 810 565 7510: GABON 🇬🇦
Leon M’Ba was elected President of Gabon in 1967 and Omar Bongo was his Vice President.
M’Ba died a year later and Bongo became President. Immediately Bongo took over power, he declared Gabon a one-party state, dissolving the opposition party.
Omar Bongo ruled Gabon till he died on June 8, 2009. He therefore ruled for 41 years.
Their constitution has been amended such that a fresh election must hold within 45 days in case of a President’s death.
But when Omar was President, his son, Ali Bongo served as Foreign Affairs Minister between 1989 and 1991 and as Deputy of the National Assembly between 1991 and 1999.
He was Minister of Defence from 1999 until his father died in 2009.
He was generally regarded as a ‘spoilt boy’ and a foreigner because he wasn’t raised in Gabon.
He won the presidential election and became President in August 2009 till this morning when the military in Gabon overthrew his government after another election which he was just declared winner.
Omar Bongo, as the Vice President, became President immediately his boss died in office.
I opine that he made the constitution to be amended to give his son the chance of running to succeed him and that was why his own Vice President could not take over after his death.
In all presidential systems that I know around your world, the Vice President takes over after the death of a President as it happened in America when President Franklin Roosevelt died, his Vice President Harry Truman too over on April 12, 1945.
On November 22, 1963, Lyndon Johnson became the President of the United States of America following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He was Kennedy’s Vice President.
And on May 5, 2010, then Vice President of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan the day the President, Umaru Musa Yar’adua died.
However, the problem with those who say they want to liberate some African countries is that they end up becoming worse dictators, staying in office for decades and shutting down all oppositions and that is one of the many reasons they say that the worst civilian government is better than the best military government.