In a bid to understand their assessment of the current political situation in Gabon, the Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, has been engaging with stakeholders in the country.
During a three-day fact-finding mission in Gabon, Scotland met with General Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguema, the country’s transitional president, who provided his overview of the political situation since the military take-over on 30 August 2023, according to a press release by the Commonwealth Secretariat.
The Secretary-General also met with the ousted President, Ali Bongo, at his residence in Libreville on 7 September 2023.
The release said she also engaged with members of civil society, political parties, Commonwealth High Commissioners and diplomats in the country. Her interactions will inform a report being prepared for Commonwealth member states.
“It is important to listen to everyone to get a balanced assessment of the situation before I prepare my report which will be shared with Commonwealth member countries,” Scotland was quoted to have said.
Recall that a group of soldiers on 30 August declared a coup d’état in Gabon hours after President Ali Bongo Ondimba, 64 – who became president in 2009 following the death of his father who had ruled the country since 1967 – was reelected for a third term in office in an election that was widely criticized.
The coup leaders appointed Gen. Nguema as chairman of the committee and president of the transitional government and placed Ali Bongo under house arrest in his residence in the Gabonese capital of Libreville.
Reacting to the situation in Gabon in a statement at the time, the Commonwealth Secretary-General had described as “deeply concerning…reports of an illegal takeover of power in Gabon”.
“The Commonwealth Charter is clear that member states must uphold the rule of law and the principles of democracy at all times and the Commonwealth Secretariat will be keenly monitoring the situation,” she had said.