Africa Must Pressure Gabon Leader to Improve People's Lives

Innoventia Africa – General Brice Nguema was inaugurated as Gabon’s interim president one week after he ousted President Ali Bongo Ondimba, who had been in power since 2009.

The coup occurred after Bongo was declared the winner of the August presidential election, sparking outrage across the country. Protesters took to the streets, demanding that the results be annulled, and Nguema stepped in to take control.

Nguema promised to hold free and fair elections in the near future and fight corruption. He has also pledged to improve the lives of the people of Gabon.

The coup has met mixed reactions. Some have welcomed Nguema as a savior, while others have condemned him as a usurper. The international community has also been divided, with some countries recognizing Nguema as the legitimate leader of Gabon, while others have not.

Deckerson Thomas, author of the book Or Porto, Shadow on the Horizon, told Innoventia Africa in an exclusive interview that the acceptance of the coup d’état in Gabon by the West is of no relevance to the change anticipated by the people.

“What is essential is for Gabon to consolidate and chart out a transparent and accountable path to good governance. The West is only interested in creating instability and uncertainty so that they can manipulate the situation to their advantage,” he said.

Nguema, Bongo’s cousin?

He said the opposition leader’s claim that Nguema is a cousin of the ousted Bongo is a distraction. “This issue raised by the opposition leader is a smoke screen and that should put him under scrutiny,” he said.

Thomas went on by saying that whether Nguema is a cousin of the ousted Bongo or not is of no consequence. “The entire country and Africa should pressure him to make the changes necessary to improve the lives of people. It would have been advisable for him to lend his support to the new leaders to effect rapid change than to call for the election results to be recounted to place him as the winner. Elections are not the main issue that blights progress in Africa. There are many more simple and complex matters to be addressed for good governance,” he added.

“Change through coup d’état must not be seen as an event but a process for continuous change. The ability of Africans to carry out sustainable change had been curtailed during colonialism and post colonialism. The reason why Africans view change only from a short term perspective and leave the longer term strategy with their colonial masters,” the author of the book Or Porto, Shadow on the Horizon concluded.

General Nguema is a 48-year-old career soldier who has held a number of senior positions in the Gabonese military. He is seen as a close ally of the former president, Omar Bongo Ondimba, and his son, Ali Bongo Ondimba.

In his inaugural speech, Nguema said that he would “work tirelessly to unite the country and restore peace and stability.” He also promised to “fight corruption and improve the lives of all Gabonese citizens.”

It remains to be seen whether Nguema will be able to fulfill his promises. However, his inauguration marked a significant change in Gabon’s political landscape. Gabon’s transitional government unveiled a new Cabinet on Saturday, appointing a woman as the defense minister.

Most Gabon residents praised the coup, new leader

“The answer to an electoral coup is a military coup. We thank the army for acting with dignity. The results were rigged, but for God’s sake, the military took charge,” Noel Koumba told news portal GabonActu.

Guy Serges Moussavou, another protestor, said: “We had been waiting for this moment for a long time. We thought the military didn’t have the guts, but they disproved us.”

In August 2023, he led a military coup that ousted Bongo from power. He was sworn in as interim president on September 4, 2023.

It remains to be seen whether Nguema will be able to deliver on his promises. However, his inauguration is a significant step forward for Gabon, which has been ruled by the Bongo family for over 50 years.

By Felix Tih Twitter

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top