Several citizens are celebrating this Wednesday the coup in Libreville, the capital of Gabon.STRINGER (Portal)
The opposition leader in Gabon, Albert Ondo, has expressed his rejection of the coup against President Ali Bongo last Wednesday and called on General Brice Oligui Nguema, the leader of the military coup, to return to the “republican order” and recognize his victory in the elections a week ago. Ondo himself has stated in various media: “You have to put things in their context; “It is not a coup, but a palace revolution.” Add: “Oligui Nguema is Ali Bongo’s cousin (…) and the Bongos realized that they had to remove him to continue the regime.” According to the opposition leader, is behind the Coup leader Pascaline Bongo, the older sister of the overthrown president. “One bongo replaced another bongo,” he said.
Ondo, a progressive candidate for the presidential election for the Alternancia 2023 platform, has demanded that the coup plotters allow “the true results of the elections,” which he said will give him victory. The coup occurred just minutes after the Gabonese electoral commission announced President Ali Bongo’s victory with 64% of the vote, in what the coup plotters themselves and the opposition said was a fraudulent process. “The true results are known to all diplomatic missions,” Ondo said. He also stated: “I am the one who won the elections, I don’t have to talk to Oligui Nguema. He is the one who has to come and talk to me (…) I have the Gabonese people with me 80%.”
Albert Ondo Ossa, 69, is a professor of economics at the Omar Bongo University of Libreville and a prominent member of Gabonese civil society. Throughout his career he was actively involved in trade unions and teachers’ associations. During the final years of Omar Bongo’s presidency, he served as Minister of National Education and Scientific Research. After his death, he ran for the 2009 presidential election, which was ultimately won by Ali Bongo. Last August he was selected as the candidate of the Alternancia 2023 coalition for the presidential elections, becoming the main opposition candidate.
Suitcase full of money
The first arrests ordered by the coup plotters a few hours after their seizure of power were of Noureddin Bongo, the son of the ousted president and a key member of the regime, as well as some of the most prominent members of his team, who were hiding suitcases full of cash in their homes. From his position as coordinator of presidential activities and after the stroke that his father suffered in 2018, Noureddin Bongo had built a kind of parallel power in the presidency with the support of his mother Sylvia Bongo. Those under house arrest and closely monitored by the new regime include the first lady, the president of the electoral commission, the president of the Constitutional Court and the president of the National Assembly.
Odome Angone, a member of the Gabonese collective “Reflection Platform for the Use of the Citizen’s Word of Women in Politics”, stressed the relief that Ali Bongo could be overthrown and that there could be a president who was not from this family. However, he also pointed out “the insecurity” that civil society is currently feeling: “General Oligui is a member of a fringe Bongo group, he is a result of the system, he is not a saint,” he explains.
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Meanwhile, General Oligui Nguema, who will be sworn in as “President of Transition” this Monday, met with members of the Gabonese Employers’ Association to reassure the business community. He announced the gradual implementation of the transitional institutions and the compliance with all their external and internal obligations, including the payment of debts. The coup leaders have also asked civil servants to stay at their jobs.
The military junta leader also wanted to send a message of toughness against corruption and warn officials who received money to build infrastructure and failed to complete it. “Those responsible will go to prison. Either they finish the roads and fund the hospitals, or they end up in prison. We will set up a committee to examine the status of the work (…) There are many embezzlers of money; Either they pay or they go to jail. “It is what the law says,” threatened General Oligui.
Activist Angone continues to hope that the new situation will be better than the previous, “completely mediocre” system. She claims France played a role in the coup. “Officially he slightly condemns it, but in reality he supports it because he cannot afford to lose the heart of Françafrique, the country where this concept was born,” he criticizes. According to him, “The elections were rude, a huge fraud but Albert Ondo, who is an honest politician, can do little now.”
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