Gabon Coup: ‘Let The Gabonese People Determine Their Future’ — Shehu Sani

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Former Kaduna senator, Shehu Sani has called on all Africans, and in particular the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) to let the Gabonese people determine their future.

Airing his opinion in a tweet, Shehu Sani who was reacting to the recent coup that saw the ousting of Gabon President Ali Bongo said “The ongoing crisis in Gabon is not a coup d’etat but a conscious and patriotic intervention to liberate the Gabonese people after half a century of dictatorship and slavery by one family.

He therefore urged “Africans, the African Union, and the United Nations, to give the new government the opportunity to restore dignity and true democracy in Gabon. Let the Gabonese people determine their future”.

Gabon Coup: Ali Bongo And Family Ruled Gabon For 56 Years

HeraldNG reports that Bongo became the President of Gabon in 2009 after serving as the country’s defence minister under his father, Omar Bongo, who ruled the country from 1967 to 2009.

Omar, who was the second president of the country ruled Gabon for almost 42 years and died in office in 2009.

Before he became the President of Gabon, Omar had served as a young official under Gabon’s first President, Leon M’ba, whom he later deputised following his election as Vice President in 1966.

In November 1967, M’ba died in France and Omar became the President of the country.

Omar’s administration was riddled with intense opposition as he ruled the country with iron fists. But despite the opposition, he won elections back-to-back on the platform of the Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG), the party he created in 1968.

The PDG was the sole political party in the country until 1990 when public pressure forced the president to introduce a multi-party system into Gabon politics.

After his death at a Spanish hospital in 2009, his son, Ali Bongo, who had served as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Defence became the country’s third president.

Bongo who joined his father’s party in 1981 became the President of the oil-producing country at the age of 50.

Like his father, Bongo has been winning elections since he became President because there are no term limits in Gabon. The Saturday, August 26 presidential election he controversially won was his third re-election.

Bongo’s reign was marred with corruption as opposition party members in an interview with Al Jazeera accused him of impoverishing the country.

In Transparency International’s 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index, Gabon ranks 124th out of 180 countries.

According to Al Jazeera, the Bongo family has been involved in a series of major scandals, including the recent indictment of five of the president’s siblings in a French investigation of embezzlement and laundering of public funds.

In 2018, Bongo suffered a stroke during an official trip to Saudi Arabia. His ill health thereafter prevented him from carrying out official functions for several months. The political instability occasioned by the president’s incapacitation led to an attempted coup in 2019.

Despite his incapacitation, Bongo contested for re-election in 2019 and was declared the winner of the election.

Hundreds of thousands of Gabonese have not known another leader outside the Bongo family.

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