Gabon’s New Leader Sworn in As Transitional President

General Brice Oligui Nguema, who ousted former President Ali Bongo in a coup last week, was sworn in as transitional president this morning in Libreville.

He addressed the nation for the first time as interim president on Monday, after a swearing-in ceremony that solidifies the junta’s grip on power.

General Brice Oligui Nguema was sworn in at 10:00 GMT.

He was given a standing ovation by an audience of military officers and officials as he arrived for the ceremony, and again just after he was sworn in.

State TV showed images of a cheering crowd and tanks firing into the sea to mark the moment.

Nguema led military officers who seized power on 30 August minutes after an announcement that Bongo had secured a third term in the latest general election.

Gabon coup leader to be sworn in as ‘transitional president’.General Brice Oligui Nguema will take control for an unspecified period after overthrowing the country’s 55-year Bongo dynasty— AFP News Agency (@AFP) September 4, 2023

He quoted Ghana’s former military leader, and later elected president, Jerry John Rawlings, saying that, “When the people are smashed by the leaders, then it’s the military who must give them back their dignity and freedom.

“It is in this spirit that we the defence forces took their responsibilities by refusing the biased electoral process.”


The coup led to the annulment of the election result, which was declared “not credible”.

He promised to hold “free, transparent elections”, after an unspecified period.

The coup ended the Bongo family’s 56-year dynasty, and was cheered by crowds onto the streets of the capital Libreville amidst condemnation from abroad.

The junta has not yet said how long it envisages holding on to power.

On Friday, Nguema said it would proceed “quickly but surely,” but cautioned that too much haste could lead to elections that lack credibility.

He also promised to let the press work freely, and re-established the signal for French media, including RFI and France 24, according to our correspondents in Libreville.

“The press is the fourth power,” Nguema said, “we will give you back your letters of nobility. Do your job, do it well.”

Gabon’s main opposition group, Alternance 2023, say they are the rightful winners of the 26 August elections, and have called on the international community to encourage the junta to hand power back to civilians.

Leaders of the Central African regional bloc ECCAS are due to meet in person later Monday to discuss their response to the ouster.

Last week, it urged partners led by the United Nations and the African Union to support a rapid return to constitutional order.

The coup is the eighth of its kind in three years in Central and West Africa.

(with newswires)


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