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In Gabon, between the military and the opposition, is dialogue possible?

The military in power in Gabon received the members of Alternance 2023. The opposition does not yet know when it will be integrated into the transition.

It was a predictable sticking point, between the opposition platform Alternance 2023 and the soldiers who took power from Ali Bongo Ondimba, in Gabon. A priori largely in the lead at the polls, the coalition candidate, Albert Ondo Ossa, expected to be promoted to President of the Republic after the coup. But as soon as they came to power, the members of the brand new Committee for the Transition and Restoration of Institutions (CTRI) had indicated that "the general elections of August 26, 2023 as well as the truncated results are cancelled".

From then on, the generals came together to try to draw the outlines of what the transition would be like. With a new strongman: General Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguema, the head of the Republican Guard, ex-ally of the Bongos, father and son. By canceling the election results, the military put an end to the ambitions of Albert Ondo Ossa.

The junta, however, agreed to open a channel of dialogue with Alternance 2023, whose members were received in the seaside Palace in Libreville. For the opponents, it was a question of asking the military to continue counting the results of the presidential election. What the military refuses, for the moment.

Agreements on human rights

Indeed, for General Nguema, the cancellation of the elections is due in particular to the poor organization of the ballot. And even if Ali Bongo had carved out a tailor-made ballot, there was no question of recounting the votes.

Despite everything, for several hours, the soldiers and the members of the opposition discussed. The opposition claims to have worked for "a climate of appeasement, the release of all the detainees who have been arrested in recent days" and the return "of all Gabonese exiles who are abroad and who must return to the country". .

Basically, General Nguema seems to agree. But on a possible collaboration between Alternance 2023 and the junta, nothing has been decided. “We are particularly open. We are civilians, we want to practice democracy. The soldiers felt that this democracy was being undermined, they took power, they promise to restore power to civilians after cleaning it up, so they agree, ”sums up the opposition to Ali Bongo.

Now all that remains is to wait. What will be the fate of Albert Ondo Ossa? The latter has not met the general but is ready to discuss with him. The junta is preparing to preside over the country for an indefinite period. Will she choose a Prime Minister, then, from the platform? Will power be shared between military and civilians? So many questions that have, for the moment, found no answer.

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