"Gabon’s prime minister, Ali Bongo, has become the latest in a string of
African leaders to be ousted by a military coup in recent years. Bongo, who had
just won a third term in power, was ousted by a junta of senior officers who
have named General Brice Oligui Nguema – the former head of the presidential
guard and Bongo’s cousin – as the country’s new “interim president”.
The coup in Gabon is the eighth in west and central Africa since 2020, and the
second – after Niger – in as many months. He is being held under house arrest
from where he made an emotional plea for help for him and his family from
international “friends of Gabon” to “make noise”.
The coup appears to have brought an end to his family’s 55-year hold on power
in Gabon. His father, El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba, was president for almost 42
years from 1967. When he died in hospital in 2009, his son won the presidency
in an election criticised at the time as little more than a dynastic handover.
News of Bongo’s removal from power was greeted by many with jubilation, with
crowds taking to the streets in support of the military junta. There has long
been talk of corruption in Gabon, with many believing that revenues from the
country’s considerable oil wealth are not being distributed evenly, leaving
many in poverty.
Gabon, a member of Opec, produces more than 200,000 barrels of oil a day, but –
despite having one of Africa’s highest incomes per capita – more than one-third
of the population of 2.3 million are thought to be living below the poverty
line, according to the UN Development Programme."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics