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Gabon coup: A threat to sustainable democracy in Africa

Gabon coup: A threat to sustainable democracy in Africa

By Oluwadara Akingbohungbe

Whenever a military coup occurs in any nation, there is negligence of democratic tendencies.

In this case, the military takes over absolute power within the nation. One major reason for the military incursion into politics over the years has been corrupt practices of African democratic leaders.

The outed Gabon President, Ali Bongo was said to have been in power since the death of the former president in 2009 who happened to be his father. The Bongo family was alleged to have been ruling for 53 years in Gabon’s Presidential office.

Gabon is a Central African Country which produces and export crude oil to other countries of the World, hence its membership of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Immediately the military took over last Wednesday, August 30, 2023 the price of crude oil was seen to have shut up in the market because the military government of Gabon closed the country’s borders.

One of the reasons given for the military intrusion in Gabon was the alleged irregularities in the Saturday, August 26, 2023 General Election in the country which according to the Electoral body, was won by Ali Bongo. The electoral body claimed that Bongo won two thirds majority of the votes cast.

The junta in Gabon has since announced Brice Oligiu as the new Military President.

Read also: Gabon coup: Rwanda, Cameroon carry out major changes in military

There have been several demonstrations stagged by citizens of the country in support of the military president in the France-colonised country.

The lesson learnt from what is going on in the African sub-region in the recent times is that as long as African leaders allow institutional coup under the auspice of democracy with the negligence of liberal democracy, military incursion into politics will continue to take place in Africa.

There is a video circulating on the social media of several Gabon currencies allegedly found in bundles in the former president’s apartment.

Africa is blessed with natural resources but are under the management of corrupt leaders who claim to be democratic on the continent.

Currently, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is still battling to restore peace in Niger following the recent coup there.

The question to ask is, is military government a blessing or a curse? Those who have witnessed both can testify to the difference between military and democratic rules. A demerit of Military Government is the suspension of constitution and lack of freedom of expression.

Should we agree on the military takeover of all nations in Africa for proper restoration of the glory of Africa?

African nations are stricken with poverty, indebtedness, citizens are dying of malnutrition, terrorists are invading our land and unbridled corruption of leaders.

There is a saying that “The worst democracy is better than the best military government.” I will ask, is a democratic government in which the lives of the masses are not being treasured not worse than a military government in which the basic needs of the people are met?

Several international bodies like African Union (AU), United Nations Organisation (UNO) have condemned the Military actions in Gabon, advising them to restore democratic rule in the country.

Read also: ‘Situation in Gabon, West Africa, a big issue for Europe’ -Borrell

The issue is that, it is not as if the people of Gabon are interested in the military, but they do not just want the Bongo’s dynasty in Gabon again.

They need a new face of leadership and that is why the people of Gabon staged a demonstration in support of the military takeover in their country.

There is an imposition of curfew from 6:00pm – 6:00am by the military government in Gabon to the people.

To me, based on the allegations leveled against the outed President of Gabon, Ali Bongo, the military should organise a transitional committee to set up a democratic election in which the outed President will be disqualified and tried in the court of law and if found guilty of the allegations, he should face the wrath of the law. There must be no witch-hunt.

Then the military should peacefully handover power to a democratically elected President, since military rule is no longer accepted in vogue

As a matter of fact, if it is military rule that can take Africa to the Eldorado, then you should be thinking what I am thinking.


.Akingbohungbe, author, leadership and government consultant, rites from Ogun State, Nigeria.

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