Gabon’s new leader Nguema takes oath of office, vows ‘free’ elections
General Brice Oligui Nguema gave a speech following his swearing-in ceremony, in which he promised to hand the "power back to the civilians."
After being inaugurated as temporary president of Gabon on Monday, the coup leader pledged to restore civilian authority through "free, transparent, and credible elections" following a transition period and amnesty for political prisoners.
Last week, Gabon witnessed an alarming morning after a group of senior Gabonese military officers went live on television channel Gabon 24 on and announced that they had taken power after it was declared that President Ali Bongo won a third term.
General Brice Oligui Nguema stated in a speech after taking the oath of office that the elections would be the first step in "handing power back to the civilians" and expressed that he sought the cooperation of all "core groups" to compose a new constitution that will be "adopted by referendum."
He also stated that he would direct the future government to consider ways of amnestying political "prisoners of conscience" and "facilitating the return of all exiles" from abroad.
Oligui expressed "surprise" at foreign criticism of the coup and reiterated that ousted President Ali Bongo won the presidential elections through fraud, and therefore, the results were canceled to prevent "bloodshed".
“We are greatly surprised to hear certain international organizations condemn the act taken by soldiers who were simply upholding their oath to the flag -- to save their country at the risk of their lives,” he remarked.