Gabon coup: Rule of law must not perish in Africa – Tinubu warns

Gabon coup: Rule of law must not perish in Africa - Tinubu warns

President Bola Tinubu has warned that the rule of law and democratic instruments for resolving electoral disputes must not be allowed to perish in Africa.

President Tinubu’s warning is coming on the heels of the military coup in Gabon, which deposed President Ali Bongo on Wednesday.

The president said he is watching the unfolding events in the Central African country and working with other leaders of the African Union to achieve a consensus position on the matter.

Briefing State House correspondents at the presidential villa, Abuja, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Ajuri Ngelale, who conveyed the president’s position, said Tinubu affirmed that power belongs to the people and not the barrel of guns.

According to him, “President Bola Tinubu is watching developments in Gabon very closely with deep concern for the country’s social-political stability and at the seeming autocratic contagion apparently spreading across different regions of our beloved continent.

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“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.”

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Officers in the Gabonese army under the aegis of the Committee for the Transition and Restoration of Institutions (CTRI) on national television gave reasons why they are taking over power in the country.

Media reports quoted the coup leaders as saying: “Our beautiful country, Gabon, has always been a haven of peace.

Today, the country is going through a serious institutional, political, economic and social crisis

“We are therefore forced to admit that the organisation of the general elections of August 26, 2023, did not meet the conditions for a transparent, credible and inclusive ballot so much hoped for by the people of Gabon.

“Added to this is irresponsible and unpredictable governance, resulting in a continuing deterioration in social cohesion, with the risk of leading the country into chaos.

“Today, 30 August 2023, we, the defence and security forces, gathered as the Committee for the Transition and Restoration of Institutions (CTRI) on behalf of the people of Gabon and as guarantors of the institutions’ protection — have decided to defend the peace by putting an end to the current regime.

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To this end, the general elections of 26 August 2023 and the truncated results are cancelled.

“The borders are closed until further notice.”

The junta also announced the dissolution of all the institutions of the country including the Federal Government, the Senate, the National Assembly, the Constitutional Court, the Economic, Social and Environmental Council and the Gabonese Elections Centre.

With this development, Gabon becomes the seventh country in Africa to fall under the barrel of the guns.

The other countries under military dictatorships are Sudan, Chad, Niger, Mali, Bourkina Faso and Guinea.

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