Gabon’s coup triggers regional response as the African Union takes tough measures

Gabon’s coup triggers regional response as the African Union takes tough measures

Military officers have seized power in Gabon. [Punch]
  • Following Gabon’s recent coup, the African Union has suspended the country’s membership in a strong regional stance against the political upheaval. 
  • Gabon’s military seizes power, toppling President Ali Bongo’s long-standing dynasty, triggering both internal celebrations and international concerns. 
  • Amidst a wave of global criticism, Nigeria’s President condemns the coup, highlighting fears of a “contagion of autocracy” spreading across the region.

Following the recent coup in the Central African nation of Gabon, the African Union has decided to suspend the country’s membership. This is the first regional response amidst a wave of international backlashes. Despite external pressure, the coup plotters are intent on consolidating power.

On August 30th, members of Gabon’s military seized power from Ali Bongo, who was set to begin his third tenure as president of Gabon. The highly contentious election result would have extended the Bongo family dynasty’s almost six decades reign.

The coup leader and former chief of the presidential guard, General Brice Oligui Nguema, is set to be sworn in as president on Monday.

The Nigerian president Bola Tinubu who has had his hands full with the recent Niger coup across Nigeria’s border also condemned the Gabon coup, noting that these coups are a “contagion of autocracy.” He stated, “My fear has been confirmed in Gabon that copycats will start doing the same thing until it is stopped.”

The African Union’s Peace and Security Council took the initiative on Thursday by forbidding Gabon from taking part in any of its events, bodies, or organizations until the restoration of constitutional order.

The political grouping of Central Africa, of which Gabon is a part, also denounced the coup in a statement and said that it will be holding an “imminent” summit of heads of state to decide how to react. There was no date provided.

Some Gabonese people took to the streets to encourage and cheer the coup plotters on, celebrating the removal of the 64-year-old president.

Later on Wednesday, a video emerged of Bongo detained in his residence, asking international allies for help, stating that they should “make some noise.”

Alternance 2023, the biggest opposition party in Gabon, expressed gratitude to the junta on Thursday for ending the Bongos’ protracted rule.

Rep. Mike Jocktane, though, emphasized that the organizers of the coup should complete what he claimed was an incomplete vote count. According to him, the results of the election would reveal that Albert Ondo Ossa, the leading opponent, had won.

Ondo Ossa came in a much distant second behind Bongo in the results that were officially released on Wednesday.


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