General Nguema is interim president of Gabon

General Brice - Interim President of Gabon

General Nguema is interim president of Gabon – A profound shift in Gabon’s political landscape has taken place as General Brice Nguema, the leader of Gabon’s military junta, was officially inaugurated as the interim president by the country’s constitutional court. The event was broadcast live to the nation, marking a significant turning point in Gabonese politics.

The Fall of Long-standing Power

Nguema’s rise to power followed a recent military coup that led to the removal of President Ali Bongo Ondimba, bringing an end to the Bongo family’s decades-long rule. Ali Bongo continued the legacy of his late father, Omar Bongo, who governed the Central African nation with an iron grip for over four decades until his passing in 2009.

Before the coup, President Bongo, who had been in power for nearly 14 years, declared victory in a controversial presidential election marred by allegations of irregularities, voting delays, and widespread internet outages. The Bongo administration also faced criticism for restricting foreign press coverage of the election process.

Reaction to the Coup: Condemnation and Celebration

Following the military takeover, President Bongo was placed under house arrest by the junta. This also also nullified the election results and temporarily closed the country’s borders. These actions garnered international condemnation. However, within Gabon’s borders, many citizens expressed jubilation and solidarity with the change in power.

Coup leader General Brice Oligui Nguema is sworn in as interim president in Gabon during his swearing-in ceremony, in Libreville, Gabon, September 4, 2023. Gerauds Wilfried Obangome

Nguema, who had previously served as a bodyguard to Omar Bongo, swiftly assumed leadership and oversaw the transition. His inauguration as interim president was marked by a military parade, with enthusiastic supporters. Civilian presence adding a civil backdrop to the ceremony.

A Step Forward: Open Borders and Reform Talks

Before his official swearing-in as interim president, Nguema took steps toward diplomatic normalization by reopening Gabon’s borders. He also engaged in discussions with political leaders to address crucial issues related to reforms. They also discussed the potential duration of the transitional period.

The exact length of Nguema’s interim leadership remains uncertain. He has emphasized a deliberate and cautious approach to ensure a smooth transition and prevent a repetition of past mistakes. This approach reflects the atmosphere of hopeful optimism during this period of political change in Gabon.