September 28, 2023

Gabons Membership Suspended by African Union Following Military Coup – Reuters

Title: Gabon’s Membership Suspended by African Union Following Military Takeover

The African Union has suspended the membership of Gabon after a military coup ousted President Ali Bongo from power. This marks the eighth coup in West and Central Africa since 2020, prompting Nigerian President Bola Tinubu to describe it as a “contagion of autocracy.”

Despite facing international condemnation, Gabon’s military leaders are seeking to consolidate power. General Brice Oligui Nguema, the leader of the coup, is set to be sworn in as president. In response, the African Union’s Peace and Security Council has prohibited Gabon’s participation in its activities until constitutional order is restored.

The political bloc of Central Africa, of which Gabon is a member, has condemned the coup and plans an imminent meeting of heads of state to determine how to respond.

However, there are conflicting opinions within Gabon regarding the military takeover. The main opposition platform, Alternance 2023, has thanked the junta for ending the Bongo family’s long-standing grip on power. However, they have requested the completion of an incomplete vote count, claiming that their candidate actually won.

In an effort to establish control, the junta has resumed domestic flights and restored some state institutions but has closed land and air borders.

These recent coups in Gabon, Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Chad, and Niger have raised concerns about the erosion of democratic gains and the limited leverage of African powers once the military takes over.

President Ali Bongo’s popularity had declined due to allegations of corruption, sham elections, and a failure to alleviate poverty despite Gabon’s oil and mineral wealth. He assumed power in 2009, following in the footsteps of his father.

While France, the United States, Canada, and Britain have expressed concern about the coup, they have not directly called for Bongo’s reinstatement. The European Union has rejected the coup and criticized the irregularities in the election process.

The situation in Gabon remains tense as the international community closely monitors the developments in the country. The African Union and other key stakeholders must work together to restore constitutional order and ensure a peaceful transition of power.