September 29, 2023

Brighton Journal

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Head of coup d’état sworn in in Gabon | General Bryce Nkuma was sworn in as “Transitional Leader”.

Head of coup d’état sworn in in Gabon |  General Bryce Nkuma was sworn in as “Transitional Leader”.

General Bryce Oligui NkumaWHO He was sworn in as Gabon’s “interim president” after last Wednesday’s coup, he promised to “return power to the public” after a transition for which he did not set a deadline. On August 30, the military announced the end of Ali Bongo’s government under house arrest less than an hour after 64.2 percent of the vote in the August 26 elections was officially certified.

Bongo’s downfall was the downfall of a family dynasty that had ruled for more than five decades. The Caponese Conspiracy This is the eighth military uprising in Central Africa. and West in three years This comes a month after Niger ousted its elected president Democratically Amid deep anti-French sentiment that included the burning of European country flags.

“However in Gabon Not much similarity to what happened in Niger, Mali or Burkina Faso, There is no question of France’s rejection, insecurity, Islamism or terrorist attacks“, he maintains in conversation Page I12 Director of the History Faculty of the National University of General Sarminto (UNGS), Sergio Galliana.

For Galiana, Gabon’s case is “similar to the coup in Guinea in 2021, It has to do with the exhaustion of political leadership“. Marisa PinoA researcher and historian from the University of Buenos Aires contributes “Gabon is an oil exporter, Then more interest will be aroused From an economic and productive perspective, what other countries in the region have shown in recent coups”.

Bongo King

Go Ali64 years old, He came to power in 2009 after the death of his father Omar who ruled the country for 41 years.. In 2016, Ali ran for the presidency again, with the opposition rallying around a single candidate, Jean Ping, whom Bongo defeated by less than six thousand votes. There were some shocking situations like the ruling party getting 95 percent votes with 99.9 percent participation in certain polling booths.

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Two years after those elections, Bongo was hospitalized abroad for a stroke and Gabon’s political continuity appeared to be in tatters. But Bongo has survived speculation about his health and a failed coup attempt in 2019 to run for re-election this year. “Though the democratic formality of elections is maintained, the electoral system has already been questioned for a long time”Reasons Kalyana. In the last elections, the government shut down the internet for five days across the country to prevent the spread of fake news.

For many analysts, the Bongo family represents an excessive concentration of power. In 2007, it came to light in an anti-corruption investigation led by French police The family maintained 39 properties in France, in addition to 70 bank accounts and at least nine luxury cars.Including the Ferrari and Mercedes, the total is worth $1.6 million. Ali Bongo’s name came up Of the more than 330 personalities that appear on calls Pandora Papers Beneficiary of two companies located in tax havens.

Despite condemnation of the coup by the African Union, the United Nations and the European Union, General Bryce Nkuma took office on Monday. Dressed in a red dress uniform, the commander of the army’s elite unit pledged to “faithfully defend the republican regime” and “respect and implement the Transitional Charter and the law”.

The new strongman is associated with the Bongos and is not a complete stranger to politicsA part of that group in power is always in power”, it warns PinoHowever Nguema “has a specific career because he spent a long time as a military attaché in Morocco and later in Senegal, an interesting path of his training.”

France’s share

Gabon has two billion barrels of oil reserves, making the country one of Africa’s major hydrocarbon powers, according to data compiled by the African Economic Community. “The country has two main sources of income, oil and manganese, which are mainly exploited by companies with French capital.. “The companies issued a statement that they are cautious about the political situation, but continue to operate,” he says Kalyana.

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France has a military base in Gabon, but there has been no announcement from the government to withdraw itAnd apparently the interests of French companies in the region will not be affected,” explains the historian. In 1975, France established the Camp de Gaulle military base on the outskirts of the capital. It had almost a thousand soldiers from the 6th. Division infantry, but President Emmanuel Macron announced in February that he would reduce French troops in Africa, including Gabon. .

“In media such as the world It is said that It is time for France to really withdraw from all of West Africa, to discuss what that positioning actually looks like. “Macron is trying to make some kind of connection, but nothing together,” Pino explains. An African Studies professor from El Colegio de Mexico recalled a meeting last week. In the EU, “France sought the support of other foreign ministers in the community to intervene in Niger and that Failing to gain support, France was completely isolated.”

Is there room for the opposition?

Opposition parties on Thursday broke their silence and asked the coup leaders to recognize the victory of their candidate, Albert Ondo Osa, in the presidential election. Beyond that option, Nguema promised that there would be “free and transparent elections” this Monday, but he did not clarify when. According to Galiana, “there is a civil leg of the protestors who are very willing to participate in an alternative event.” In the words of a UNGS historian, it would also be useful to the military because “it would lend legitimacy to the coup.”

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After this series of blows, the future of the African continent remains uncertain. Hours after Gabon’s forces seized power, Cameroonian President Paul Biya, who had been in power for 40 years, replaced his military leadership. Paul Kagame of Rwanda removed hundreds of soldiers from their posts. Even Ismail Omar Guelleh, who has ruled Djibouti, a small French colony in the Horn of Africa since 1999, condemned the coup and this latest trend of military takeovers.