Gabon: Ousted Bongo’s Cousin, General Nguema Sworn in as President

General Brice Nguema, ousted President Ali Bongo’s cousin, has been sworn in as interim President of Gabon.

“I swear before God and the Gabonese people to faithfully preserve the republican regime,” said Mr Nguema during his swearing-in ceremony, witnessed by cheering Gabonese on Monday.

Mr Nguema was sworn in less than a week after he led a coup that ousted Mr Bongo from office, ending the 56-year reign of the Bongo dynasty in Gabon.

Last week Friday, Mr Nguema, who played crucial roles in sustaining the Bongo dynasty in Gabon, dismissed calls for quick restoration of civilian rule in the country.

“Moving as quickly as possible doesn’t mean organising elections in a rush where we’ll end up with the same mistakes, where the same people will continue in power, and it all comes back to the same thing,” Mr Nguema said.

However, many say Mr Nguema’s regime is more a continuation of Bongo’s dynasty in Gabon, while the international community continues to condemn Mr Bongo’s ouster.

On Friday, Albert Ondo Ossa, the opposition candidate, charged the Gabon military to conclude the counting of the August 26 election and declare him president.

“I’m asking it (military) to restore republican and constitutional order,” Mr Ossa told Le Monde in an interview on Friday.

“The electoral process must be brought to a conclusion, and the results must be announced so that I can become the legitimate president and then the legal president once they have been validated by the Constitutional Court,” added Mr Ossa.

Aside his call for friends and the international community to “make noise” in a short video after his government was toppled on Wednesday, nothing has been heard from Bongo.

Mr Bongo assumed power in 2009 when he took over from his father, the late Omar Bongo, who ruled the country for over 40 years.

His ouster came after he was declared winner of a controversial election that would have seen him stay in power for the third term, despite calls for him to step down since he suffered a stroke in 2018.