The Commonwealth has expressed concerns regarding the potential military coup in Gabon, a country that joined the organization just last year. The situation has drawn close monitoring from the international body.
Secretary-General Patricia Scotland conveyed her unease, stating that the situation is “deeply concerning,” saying the Commonwealth Charter explicitly requires member states to uphold the rule of law and democratic principles at all times.
These concerns arose Wednesday following the televised announcement by a group of Gabonese military officers who declared their intention to “put an end to the current regime” and nullify the election of President Ali Bongo Ondimba.
During the announcement, the sound of gunfire was reportedly heard in the capital city of Gabon, Libreville.
In addition to announcing the annulment of the election results, one of the officers stated that “all the institutions of the republic” had been dissolved.
The address was delivered by an officer who was accompanied by about a dozen army colonels, members of the elite Republican Guard, regular soldiers, and other military personnel.
This development occurred shortly after the national election authority announced that Bongo had secured a third term in the Saturday election, garnering 64.27 percent of the vote.
Also, in reaction to the coup, President Bola Tinubu has expressed his profound concern regarding the unfolding political situation in Gabon and the resulting socio-political stability within the country.
The President’s sentiment was conveyed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, during discussions with the media.
Ngelale also highlighted Tinubu’s conviction that upholding the rule of law and adhering to constitutional methods for resolving electoral disputes were essential components that must not waver in Africa.
“As a staunch advocate for democracy, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is attentively observing the unfolding developments in Gabon with a deep concern for the nation’s socio-political equilibrium and the apparent proliferation of autocratic tendencies across various regions of our beloved continent,” Ngelale conveyed.
“The President, who himself has demonstrated immense dedication in advancing and safeguarding democratic principles, strongly believes that authority should remain in the hands of Africa’s resilient people rather than within the confines of armed coercion.”
Ngelale emphasized that Tinubu reiterated the importance of preserving “the rule of law and a consistent commitment to utilizing constitutional means and mechanisms for resolving electoral conflicts across our distinguished continent.”
He further stated that the President is “actively collaborating and maintaining continuous dialogue with fellow heads of state within the African Union, in pursuit of a comprehensive consensus on the upcoming course of action regarding the Gabon crisis, as well as how the African continent will collectively address the alarming rise of autocracy within our territories.”