Conflicts & War

Gabon coup leader takes oath as interim president

Libreville, Sep 4 (EFE).- Gabon’s coup leader General Brice Oligui Nguema was sworn in as the country’s interim president on Monday, as he promised to preserve democracy and hold free elections in the country once the transition period has ended.

Last week, Nguema, backed by a group of military officers, toppled the elected government of President Ali Bongo, following contentious elections last month over allegations of fraud.

Nguema took the oath of office before the Constitutional Court judges in a ceremony held at the Presidential Palace in the capital city of Libreville.

“I swear before God and the Gabonese people to faithfully preserve the republican regime, to respect and enforce the transition charter and the law,” said Nguema, dressed in a red ceremonial uniform of the Gabonese military.

He also vowed to preserve “the gains of democracy, the independence of the country and the integrity of the national territory.”

Nguema promised to hold “free and transparent” elections after the transition period ends, without specifying an exact date for calling fresh polls.

The general also pledged amnesty for “prisoners of conscience.”

The military announced the coup shortly after Gabonese electoral body announced the victory of president Bongo on Aug 30, following the controversial elections held on Aug 26.

The opposition immediately rejected the election result as a fraud.

Calling the elections as opaque, the coup leaders dissolved the country’s institutions, canceled election results and temporarily closed the country’s borders.

The coup leaders put the ousted president under house arrest, accusing him of treason, embezzlement of public funds and corruption, among other charges.

The international community, including the African Union, the United Nations and European Union, among others, have condemned the coup in the country.

However, the transitional president on Saturday said the coup leaders, in consultation with political parties, would work to create “strong institutions” and bring democratic reforms before holding free and transparent elections.

Ousted president Bongo’s family has been in power since 1967 in Gabon.

Bongo had been seeking a third term in office after becoming president in 2009, following the death of his father, Omar Bongo, who ruled the country for almost 40 years.

Gabon became the sixth African nation to undergo a military coup in the last three years after Niger, Mali, Guinea, Sudan and Burkina Faso. EFE


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