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Gabon will not rush to election – Coup leader

Military officers placed President Bongo under house arrest and installed General Brice Nguema as head of state, ending the Bongo family’s 56-year hold on power. Photo: Reuters

Gabon’s junta leader, General Brice Oligui Nguema says he wants to avoid rushing into elections that “repeat past mistakes”.

Nguema said in a televised address on Friday evening that the junta would proceed “quickly He however said it would avoid elections that “repeat the same mistakes” by keeping the same people in power.

“Going as quickly as possible does not mean organising ad hoc elections, where we will end up with the same errors,” he said.

Military officer took over power from the Gabon’s President Ali Bongo, on Wednesday, after an announcement that he had secured a third term in a disputed election.

Bongo took over in 2009 from his late father who came to power in 1967.

The coup, according to TRT News, was the West and Central Africa’s eighth in three years, drew condemnation from abroad and opposition at home.

Central African regional bloc ECCAS has urged partners led by the United Nations and the African Union to support a rapid return to constitutional order, it said in a statement after an extraordinary meeting on Thursday.

The bloc said it would reconvene on Monday, the day the junta leader is due to be sworn in.

Gabon’s main opposition group, Alternance 2023, urged the international community on Friday to encourage the junta to hand power back to civilians.

The African Union’s Peace and Security Council on Thursday suspended Gabon and called for fair and transparent elections.

France, Gabon’s former colonial ruler, and other Western powers have condemned the takeover.

In line with the incident in Gabon, the Nigerian House of Representatives Minority Caucus has expressed displeasure with the military coups and the rising trend of military adventurism in Africa, blaming them on inept governance, unrealistic ambitions, and a blatant failure to have a connection with the people.

In a statement made by the caucus’ leader, Mr. Kingsley Chinda, the group referred to the continent’s unexpected spike in military coups over the previous few years as “extremely sad,” “deeply worrisome,” and “pathetically shameful.”

Chinda said the military incursions were rolling back the gains of the democratic struggles for the return to civil rule of the late 1980s and 1990s.

The legislators maintained that the use and deployment of brute force, and aggression in whatever guise is not the solution to the problems at hand and hope for democratic governance in Gabon, Niger Republic or any other countries in Africa.

Writing by Abdullahi Lamino, Shehu Ibrahim ; Editing by Adeniyi Bakare