During a televised ceremony on Monday, General Brice Nguema, the leader of the coup in Gabon that removed President Ali Bongo Ondimba, a relative of the ousted president, was officially sworn in as interim president by the country’s constitutional court.
The recent military takeover, organized by Nguema, has disrupted the long-standing political dominance of the Bongo family in Gabon, which has lasted for several decades. Ali Bongo, who is 64 years old, took power after his father, Omar Bongo, ruled the Central African nation for over four decades until his death in 2009.
Before last Wednesday’s coup, Ali Bongo, who had been in power for almost 14 years, was declared the winner of a controversial presidential election marred by voting delays and internet disruptions.
Additionally, the Bongo administration had restricted foreign press coverage of the election.
“I swear before God and the Gabonese people to faithfully preserve the republican regime,” said Mr Nguema during his swearing-in ceremony, witnessed by cheering Gabonese on Monday.
“Moving as quickly as possible doesn’t mean organising elections in a rush where we’ll end up with the same mistakes, where the same people will continue in power, and it all comes back to the same thing,” Mr Nguema said.
However, many say Mr Nguema’s regime is more a continuation of Bongo’s dynasty in Gabon, while the international community continue to condemn Mr Bongo’s ouster.
On Friday, Albert Ondo Ossa, the opposition candidate, charged the Gabon military to conclude the counting of the August 26 election and declare him president.
“I’m asking it (military) to restore republican and constitutional order,” Mr Ossa told Le Monde in an interview on Friday.
“The electoral process must be brought to a conclusion, and the results must be announced so that I can become the legitimate president and then the legal president once they have been validated by the Constitutional Court,” said Mr Ossa.