Gabon’s Interim PM Proposes Elections Within 24 Months After Military Coup
Gabon’s newly appointed Prime Minister, Raymond Ndong Sima, has said that he envisions new elections for the country within the next 24 months. This revelation comes after a sudden military coup that saw President Ali Bongo ousted from power. The military junta has committed to a transparent and unbiased electoral process, but has yet to share any specific scheduling details. Sima hinted that these details are anticipated in the immediate future.
A Nation’s History in Transition
Raymond Ndong Sima stepped into the role of interim prime minister shortly after Gen Brice Oligui Nguema, the coup’s leader, assumed the position of transitional president. The nation has been governed by the Bongo family since 2009, when Ali Bongo took over the reins from his father, continuing a political dynasty that spanned over four decades. Their deep ties with Gabon’s former colonial master, France, were notably prominent.
While the recent political upheaval received criticism internationally, notably from African nations and Western powers including France, the general populace of Gabon showed a positive reception. Cheers erupted during Gen Nguema’s official inauguration. Still, doubts persist regarding Nguema’s governance, given his prolonged association with Bongo’s inner circle.
According to the BBC, when asked about the transition since the coup, Prime Minister Sima commented on the military’s restraint against civilians and their commitment to democratic re-establishment. Sima acknowledged the complexities of detaching from a legacy that’s lasted half a century, emphasizing the deep-rooted influences that persist.
Facing Forward: Challenges and Decisions
Sima, who once opposed Mr. Bongo in two separate elections, has currently dismissed the possibility of prosecuting the former president on corruption charges, despite public demands. The focus, as Sima suggests, should not be on the past, but on rebuilding the nation.
Previously, a comprehensive seven-year investigation by France scrutinized the Bongo family’s assets. However, after revealing multiple properties and luxury vehicles, the inquiry was abandoned in 2017, with the Bongo family vehemently rejecting the accusations. As an update on Ali Bongo’s status post-coup, the military junta clarified that he had been released from house confinement and could leave Gabon for medical reasons, recalling his past treatments in Morocco following a stroke.
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