The junta that seized power in Gabon in August 2023 has announced a roadmap for the country’s political transition, which will culminate in general elections in August 2025.
The Committee for the Transition and Restoration of Institutions (CTRI), led by Lieut. Col. Ulrich Manfoumbi Manfoumbi, has outlined a series of reforms and steps to prepare the country for a return to democracy and constitutional order.
What triggered the coup in Gabon?
The CTRI staged a coup on Aug. 30, 2023, claiming that it was acting to save the country from chaos and misrule.
The junta accused President Ali Bongo, who had been in power since 2009, of being unfit to govern due to his poor health and alleged corruption. Bongo had suffered a stroke in 2018 and had been rarely seen in public since then.
The junta also denounced the lack of transparency and fairness in the presidential election of 2018, which Bongo had won amid allegations of fraud and violence. The coup was condemned by the international community and the African Union, which demanded the restoration of the legitimate government and the respect for the constitutional order.
What are the main features of the transition roadmap?
The CTRI has published a timetable for the transition, which it said would last for two years. The main features of the roadmap are as follows:
- The CTRI will act as the supreme authority of the transition, overseeing the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the state.
- A transitional government will be formed, composed of representatives of the CTRI, the political parties, the civil society, and the religious groups. The transitional government will be headed by a prime minister appointed by the CTRI.
- A transitional parliament will be established, composed of members of the dissolved National Assembly and the Senate, as well as delegates from the CTRI, the political parties, the civil society, and the religious groups. The transitional parliament will act as a Constituent Assembly to draft a new constitution for the country.
- A referendum will be held in December 2024 to adopt the new constitution, which will define the new institutional framework and the electoral system of the country.
- General elections will be held in August 2025 to elect the president, the members of the parliament, and the local authorities. The elections will be supervised by an independent electoral commission and monitored by national and international observers.
What are the challenges and prospects for the transition?
The transition roadmap has been welcomed by some segments of the Gabonese society, who see it as an opportunity to end the political crisis and usher in a new era of democracy and development.
However, the transition also faces many challenges and uncertainties, such as:
- The legitimacy and credibility of the CTRI, which is still considered as a coup-maker and a violator of the constitutional order by many Gabonese and international actors.
- The security and stability of the country, which is threatened by the possibility of resistance and violence from the loyalists of the former regime, as well as by the presence of armed groups and terrorists in the region.
- The inclusiveness and representativeness of the transition, which depends on the participation and consultation of all the political and social forces of the country, as well as on the respect for the human rights and the rule of law.
- The economic and social recovery of the country, which requires the mobilization of the national and international resources and the implementation of the reforms and policies to address the challenges of poverty, inequality, unemployment, and corruption.