By Saurav Sarkar
Al Jazeera reported that officers of the Gabonese military removed President Ali Bongo from office just minutes after he was declared re-elected on Saturday, August 25. The military personnel also announced the dissolution of state institutions and border closures.
Bongo’s family had ruled Gabon almost continuously since 1967. Ali Bongo himself took power in 2009 in the first election after the death of his father. But despite his pleas for outside intervention, the erstwhile leader remained under house arrest as of August 30.
“It is an oil emirate run like a family property for almost six decades,” French analyst Thomas Borrel told the Associated Press.
Gabon exported $6 billion worth of oil in 2022 and has the fourth-highest human development index in sub-Saharan Africa as of 2021. However, this still left it in the bottom half of countries globally and residents are reportedly aggravated by the wealth of their ruling elite.
The attempted coup was the eighth in Central and West Africa since 2020. Like Niger, which also saw a coup attempt in mid-2023, Gabon is a former French colony whose civilian government had close ties with France.
Saurav Sarkar is a freelance writer and editor who covers political activism and labor movements. They live in Long Island, New York, and have also lived in New York City, New Delhi, London, and Washington, D.C. Follow them on Twitter @sauravthewriter and at sauravsarkar.com.
from the Globetrotter News Service