Gabon military leader expected in Yaounde this week

By Ndi Eugene Ndi

Gabonese junta leader General Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguema is expected in Cameroon this week in continuation of his regional tour to explain the reason for the August 30 putsch and lobby support for legitimacy from neighboring countries.

During his visit to Yaounde, the Gabonese leader would be received by veteran president Paul Biya who remained skeptical and reluctant to the idea of ​​legitimizing the coup against Ali Bongo Ondimba.

In release dated Saturday December 2, the High Commissioner of Gabon to Cameroon, H.E Paul Patrick Biffot has informed the Gabonese community in the country that the Transitional President will be in Cameroon on Wednesday December 6 “for a friendly and working visit”.

The Gabonese diplomat has called on his compatriots in the country to be mobilized and assemble at the Gabonese chancellery in Yaounde to give the chairman of the Committee for the Transition and Restoration of Institutions of Gabon “a hilarious welcome”.

“Given the importance of this [visit] event, the presence of all [Gabonese in Yaounde] is an imperative,” Patrick Biffot said in the communique.

General Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguema shaking hands with President Faustin Archange Touadera during audience in Bangui. Photo Radio Ndeke Luka/Hugues Namkoïssé

Seeking support

Nguema who became transitional leader following the military overthrew of former president, Ali Bongo Odimba on August 30, has been on a diplomatic mission to seek support from neighboring countries for the reintegration of Gabon into regional blocs.

The six-member Economic and Monetary Community of Central African States (CEMAC) and the much larger 11-states Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) suspended Gabon’s membership after the August 30 coup and condemned the use of force to resolve political conflicts.

General Nguema began his diplomatic tour of the CEMAC region in Equatorial Guinea, followed by Congo-Brazzaville, the Central African Republic (CAR) and then Chad where he met and discussed with their various leaders. Cameroon will be final CEMAC country he is visiting. He had also been to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

Nguema said after his meeting with CAR President, Faustin Archange Touadera in October that he had explained why the military takeover was important for Gabon as a nation.

He said that the coup was intended to avoid bloodshed because Gabon’s opposition was preparing to take up arms to defend their victory that they say President Ali Bongo Ondimba stole in the August 26 election.

Return to constitutional order

Touadera is current chair of the CEMAC Heads of State Conference and ECCAS designated mediator in Gabon. ECCAS appointed Touadera as “facilitator of the political process” in Gabon and tasked him with meeting “all Gabonese actors and partners of the country” with the goal of providing “a rapid return to constitutional order”.

Nguema’s visit to Cameroon had been rumoured since the leader left Bangui after the audience with Touadera, but it had not been official until now.

The visit to Yaounde of the Gabonese junta leader comes less than two months after Touadera briefed president Paul Biya on the situation in the neighboring country.

The CAR leader was in Yaounde on September 12 and during an audience, updated his Cameroonian counterpart on his mission to Libreville, where he had visited a week earlier. During the mission to Libreville, Touadera met with all the political stakeholders “to ensure the restoration of constitutional order in Gabon and the safety of key officials”, according to the Presidency of the Republic of Cameroon.

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