Four reasons for military takeover in Gabon

Opinion Four reasons for military takeover in Gabon
AUG 30, 2023 LISTEN

Gabonese military army officers with the guidance of the Committee for the Transition and Restoration of Institutions on Wednesday, 30th August, 2023 took over power from President Ali Bongo in the country and placed him under arrest.

The soldiers highlighted serious institutional, political, economic and social crises as factors responsible for the coup that they tagged, ‘necessary’ for the progress of the West African country. We explore some reasons below:

1. Institutional Malaise
The military in Gabon feels the institutions of government aren't working properly in Gabon and all seem to working for the president, Ali Bongo.

Information indicates that anytime there were going to be elections, the government shut down the Internet which prevents the opposition from being able to collate their results, closed its borders to bar independent observers from having access to monitor the elections. This gives way to rigging which the current elections were disputed by the opposition as being fraudulent.

2. Political Malaise
The Bongo family have ruled Gabon for more than 55 out of its 63 years since the country got independence from France in 1960.

Ali Bongo, 64, took over the reins of power from his father in 2009 after nearly 42 years at the helm of affairs in Gabon.

Senior Bongo, who took office in 1967, had been accused of being a kleptocrat — one of the richest men in the world, with a fortune derived from Gabon’s oil wealth.

Gabonese citizens are fed up with the dynasty of the Bongos which has not brought any meaning to them, hence they applaud the military.

3. Economic Malaise
Gabon is one of the richest countries in Africa in terms of per-capita GDP. This is largely attributed to oil revenues.

With a population of 2.3 million, and oil accounting for 60 percent of the country’s revenues, a third of the population still live below the poverty line of $5.50 per day, according to the World Bank.

4. Social Malaise
A social crisis is any change or event that pushes a government, nation, or people into such acute pressure that a breakdown of law and order may result. Normally associated with war, unhappiness with political leadership, economic failure, natural disasters like floods and hurricanes, or the outbreak of disease.

With the Gabonese situation bad governance and unhappiness are averred by the Gabonese army. It has created a lot of social unrest which has culminated in the people repudiating the Bongos rulership.

Therefore, today, 30 August 2023, the defence and security forces, gathered as the Committee for the Transition and Restoration of Institutions (CTRI) on behalf of the people of Gabon and as guarantors of the institutions’ protection — have decided to defend the peace by putting an end to the current regime.

“To this end, the general elections of 26 August 2023 and the truncated results are cancelled. The borders are closed until further notice", the junta statement as translated in English by ARP read.

The junta resolved that all of the institutions of the country be dissolved including the Constitutional Court, the National Assembly, the Federal Government, the Senate, the Economic, Social and Environmental Council and the Gabonese Elections Centre.

DC Kwame Kwakye
DC Kwame Kwakye

Broadcast JournalistPage: DCKwameKwakye