Following Wednesday’s coup in Gabon, President Bola Tinubu has expressed concern that a contagion of autocracy was spreading across Africa.
President Tinubu said he was working very closely with other Heads of States in the African Union towards a comprehensive consensus response after the coup in Gabon.
The coup came amid the ongoing efforts to resolve the crisis in Niger Republic following the overthrow of President Mohamed Bazoum by the country’s military.
Recall that the Gabonese coupists annulled Saturday’s election, which Bongo was declared to have won.
The soldiers announced the dissolution of all the institutions in Gabon and shut the country’s borders, saying their actions were on behalf of the central African nation’s security and defence forces.
Noureddin Bongo Valentin, one of the sons of Gabonese President, Ali Bongo Ondimba, was also arrested for “treason”.
The ousted president was placed under house arrest alongside some of his family members.
“President Ali Bongo is under house arrest, surrounded by his family and doctors,” they said in a statement read out on state TV.
A military leader said those arrested were accused of treason, embezzlement, corruption and falsifying the president’s signature, among other allegations.
Bongo, in a video, begged his international friends to make noise about his ouster.
“My name is Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of Gabon. I am sending a message to all friends that we have all over the world to tell them to make noise, to make noise,” Bongo said.
Tinubu’s spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, told reporters in Abuja yesterday that the president was watching closely with deep concern for Gabon’s socio-political stability and the autocratic contagion spreading across different regions of Africa.
He said Tinubu said the rule of law and a faithful recourse to the constitutional resolutions and instruments of electoral dispute resolution must not be allowed to perish from the continent.
Ngelale said: “President Bola Tinubu is watching developments in Gabon very closely with deep concern for the country’s socio-political stability and at the seeming autocratic contagion apparently spreading across different regions of our beloved continent.
“The president, as a man who has made significant personal sacrifices in his own life in the course of advancing and defending democracy, is of the unwavering belief that power belongs in the hands of Africa’s great people and not in the barrel of a loaded gun.
“The president affirms that the rule of law and a faithful recourse to the constitutional resolutions and instruments of electoral dispute resolution must not at any time be allowed to perish from our great continent.
“To this end, the president is working very closely and continuing to communicate with other Heads of State in the African Union towards a comprehensive consensus on the next steps forward with respect to how the crisis in Gabon will play out and how the continent will respond to the contagion of autocracy we are seeing spread across our continent.”
The Commonwealth has expressed concern over the coup in Gabon.
Its Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, said: “The Commonwealth Charter is clear that member states must uphold the rule of law and the principles of democracy at all times.”
Bongo, who came to power after his father’s death in 2009, won a third term in Saturday’s election, which the opposition argued was heavily disputed.
Hundreds of Gabon’s citizens yesterday flooded the capital, Libreville, to celebrate the coup and the end of Bongo’s 53-year dynasty in the country.
According to Al Jazeera, immediately after the end of Bongo’s rule was announced, crowds took to the streets in jubilation including a shopkeeper, Viviane Mbou, who offered the soldiers juice, which they declined.
“Long live our Army,” said Jordy Dikaba, a young man walking with his friends on a street lined with police.
“I am marching today because I am joyful. After almost 60 years, the Bongos are out of power,” says Jules Lebigui, an unemployed 27-year-old who joined the celebrations on Libreville’s streets.”