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Gabon coup leader calls for constitutional reforms

The coup leader in Gabon, Brice Oligui Nguema has proposed reforms. He wants a new constitution to be adopted after a referendum, a new electoral code, and a new drive towards economic development. Nguema also says those in political exile will be welcomed back and political prisoners will be freed.

Brice Oligui Nguema, who ousted President Ali Bongo and ended his family’s 56-year grip on power. The coup leader is cousin of deposed President Bongo, he once served as a bodyguard to his late father. Nguema replaced Bongo’s stepbrother as head of Gabon’s Republican Guard in 2019. The elite force was in charge of protecting the President, his family and other high-profile figures.

Gabon’s Transitional President, Nguema says, “Like a meteorite in the dark of night, our country’s defence and security forces assumed their responsibilities by refusing the electoral coup that had just been declared by the Gabonese elections centre, following an outrageously biased electoral process. It was without violence, without clashes and without bloodshed that the committee for the transition and restoration of institutions, changed the regime that had been confusing power of the republic’s institutions for several years in flagrant disregard of democratic rules.”

In 2019, Nguema launched an anti-corruption operation named clean hands to crack down on alleged state-led embezzlement.

But in 2020, the coup leader was named in an investigation by the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, which alleged that some members of the Bongo family and their inner circle including Nguema, had bought expensive property in the US, with stashes of cash. He has never denied the allegations.

“Our aim is to move as quickly as possible, quickly but surely, moving as quickly as possible doesn’t mean organising elections in a rush.”  The eighth coup in West and Central Africa in three years has raised concerns about military takeovers in the region. Deposed President Bongo remains under house arrest.

Source: SABC

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