In the early hours of Wednesday, a group of Gabonese military officers announced on television that they were “putting an end to the current regime” and cancelling an election that, according to official results, President Ali Bongo Ondimba won.
During the announcement of the cancellation of the election results, one of the officers said “all the institutions of the republic” had been dissolved.
An officer flanked by a group of a dozen army colonels, members of the elite Republican Guard, regular soldiers and others read the announcement in the Gabonese capital, Libreville.
This declaration came moment after the National Election Authority announced the incumbent president Ali Bongo as the winner of the just concluded election with 64.27 percent of the total vote cast.
Bongo has been in power for 14 years in the oil-rich West African country.
“Today, the country is going through a serious institutional, political, economic and social crisis,” the officer said on TV channel Gabon 24.
He added that the just concluded election “did not meet the conditions for a transparent, credible and inclusive ballot so much hoped for by the people of Gabon.”
“We have decided to defend peace by putting an end to the current regime,” the officer said, adding that he was speaking on behalf of the “Committee for the Transition and Restoration of Institutions”.
The statement was also broadcast on Gabon 1 public television.
“To this end, the general elections of 26 August 2023 and the truncated results are cancelled,” he added.
According to the results issued prior to the officers’ announcement, Bongo’s main opposition Albert Ondo Ossa won just 30.77 percent of the vote.
Before polls closed on Saturday, Ondo Ossa had accused Bongo of “fraud” while claiming he was the rightful winner.
While the election was under way, Bongo’s government imposed a curfew and a nationwide internet shutdown to prevent the spread of “false news” and possible violence. On Monday, Ondo Ossa’s campaign manager Mike Jocktane called on Bongo to hand over power “without bloodshed”, insisting a partial count had Ondo Ossa clearly ahead, without providing any proof.