Soldiers in Gabon called for “calm and serenity” as they announced they had taken over power in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
They said they had decided “to defend peace by putting an end to the current regime” soon after the electoral body declared that President Ali Bongo, who has been in power for 14 years, had won a third term
In their address on national TV, the soldiers said the elections “did not meet the conditions for a transparent, credible and inclusive ballot so much hoped for by the people of Gabon”.
Here’s some of the quotes from the statement read on TV, as translated by the AFP news agency:
“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.
“The organisation of the general elections of 26 August 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.
“To this end [the elections] and the truncated results are cancelled. The borders are closed until further notice. All the institutions of the republic are dissolved: the government, the Senate, the National Assembly, the Constitutional Court, the Economic, Social and Environmental Council and the Gabonese Elections Centre.
“We call for calm and serenity from the public, the communities of sister countries settled in Gabon, and the Gabonese diaspora. We reaffirm our commitment to respecting Gabon’s commitments to the national and international community.
“People of Gabon, we are finally on the road to happiness. May God and the spirits of our ancestors bless Gabon. Honour and loyalty to our homeland.”