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GABON – Raymond Ndong Sima, opponent of Ali Bongo, appointed Transitional Prime Minister

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The President of the transition in Gabon, General Brice Oligui Nguema, appointed Thursday, September 07, 2023 the Transitional Prime Minister Raymond Ndong Sima, an economist and opponent of the president, Ali Bongo, overthrown by the military a week ago, according to a decree read on state television.

Raymond Ndong Sima, 68, had been Prime Minister of Ali Bongo from 2012 to 2014, but he had moved away from power. He regularly accused the power of Ali Bongo of bad governance, until he stood against the head of state at the presidential elections of 2016 and 2023. This year, he joined the Alternance 2023 platform after running and had therefore withdrawn his candidacy to give way to a consensual candidate, Albert Ondo Ossa.

Finally on Wednesday, September 7, Raymond Ndong Sima slammed the door of the coalition, declaring that the situation was «confused for several days» within the group. So he was free from any party because he is an independent candidate. It is not surprising that the junta chose him.

Raymond Ndong Sima is an economist from the north of the country. He completed part of his studies in France before joining the Gabonese Ministry of Economy. Member of the presidential party, the Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG), he finally won a portfolio in 2009, becoming Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries.

Break with the CEO in 2015
Two years later, he also won a seat as an MP. Raymond Ndong Sima is known for his lively temperament. He did not hesitate to criticize the CEO, which led to a break in 2015, when he moved to the opposition. Since then, he has been a virulent critic of Ali Bongo’s regime.

In Gabon, General Brice Oligui Nguema, who led the coup of August 30 against a barely proclaimed re-elected Ali Bongo, was sworn in Monday, September 4 as President of a transition period, the duration of which he did not set, and at the end of which he promised “free elections”. On Monday, he also announced the formation of a transitional government including personalities from all political stripes.

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CENTRAL AFRICA

DR CONGO – Elections: Candidate Moïse Katumbi’s Party Leader Dies on Eastern Trip

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An official of the party of the opponent Moïse Katumbi was killed and several others wounded Tuesday, November 28, 2023 in Kindu, in eastern DRC, where the opponent arrived as part of his campaign for the presidential election of December 20. This is the first major incident since the beginning of this election campaign, which is taking place in a tense political climate.

The climate was already tense long before the landing of Moïse Katumbi’s plane, the authorities having forbidden the opponent to hold his meeting at the Central Tribune of the main artery of the city of Kindu.

Upon arrival, Moïse Katumbi and his allies, including former Prime Minister Matata Ponyo and Seth Kikuni were cheered and followed by the crowd in the streets before the rally relocated elsewhere. It was at the approach of the governor’s residence that the opponent and his supporters were attacked with stone throws by young supposed to belong to the presidential party.
“Stoned”, according to his party
In the exchanges and the crowd, at the head of the procession, Dido Kakisingi, youth leader of the Ensemble for the Republic party of Moïse Katumbi in Kindu, was hit by a projectile. On the ground, he was beaten violently to the point of dying, according to his party, claiming that he was simply “stoned”.

But for the mayor of Kindu, the latter fell from a vehicle of the procession before being stamped. The police intervened, firing live ammunition. In the process, several others were injured.

These incidents did not stop the campaign procession of Moïse Katumbi who held his rally to ask the people to vote.

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CENTRAL AFRICA

GABON – A general takes the reins of Libreville City Hall

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Following the coup of 30 August 2023, the military junta led by General Brice Clotaire Oligui announced the dissolution of the country’s government institutions. As part of this transition, a new provisional government will soon be appointed based on information received on September 7, 2023.

It is in this perspective that Brigadier General Judes Ibrahim Rapontchombo was appointed as the new head of the Gabonese capital, replacing the former mayor Christine Mba Ndutume, appointed by presidential decree in July 2021.

General Rapontchombo, previously military governor in 2020, has the mission to restore order within an institution shaken in recent years by many financial scandals.

It should be noted that Brigadier General Judes Ibrahim Rapontchombo will be supported in this mission by the former chief of the military prytanee, Commissioner-Colonel Gaude Stive Okoumba, who will assume the role of financial director. This team of soldiers has already begun a new chapter in the management of the Libreville City Hall, by carrying out a first control within the financial management of the City Hall.

As a reminder, 64 years old and in power for 14 years, Ali Bongo Odimba was deposed during a putsch conducted without bloodshed, less than an hour after his camp had proclaimed his re-election to the presidency in a vote described as fraudulent by the putschists. The coup was led by General Oligui, who gathered behind him all the army and police corps, and rallied almost all the parties of the former opposition and part of the formerThe majority as well as a massive surge of a population thanking him for having “liberated” 55 years of “Bongo dynasty” in power.

The military authorities promised to “hand over power to civilians” at the end of a transition whose duration has not been fixed, after having adopted “by referendum”, a new Constitution that will have to be drawn up with the participation of “all the living forces of the Nation” and which will lead to “free and transparent elections”.

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CENTRAL AFRICA

GABON – A consultation around the Alternance 2023 platform, this Sunday

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Initially scheduled for Friday, this consultation is now scheduled for Sunday, 03 September 2023. And on Saturday, on the side of Alternance 2023, we did not hide the concerns about the way the military settle in power in Libreville.

The leaders of the opposition platform joined by RFI remain on the same line, behind Albert Ondo Ossa: «We cannot pass by losses and profits the results of the electoral process, says one of them. There is a winner. There is no reason to create a legal vacuum.” In short: no need for a transition.

Even if they do not wish to speak at the microphone for the moment, these opponents are worried about how the military unfolds their agenda. “We acknowledge their role in preventing disorder, but we are not here to legitimize this coup. (…) We should not move from a civil dictatorship to a military dictatorship,” he continued.

Another manager of the Alternance 2023 platform adds: “We hear the promises, but it’s for the cameras, it’s just communication (…) If civil society wants to support a transition, it’s its choice, not ours.” These opposition leaders repeat: for them, it is necessary «thorough discussions between the junta and the platform», at least an appointment with Albert Ondo Ossa. «And that, says one of them, doesn’t happen in front of the cameras».

For Raymond Ndong Sima, a new election is needed
If Albert Ondo Ossa multiplies the declarations to demand a new counting of the votes because he is convinced to be the winner of the vote, a dissenting voice is heard within the Alternation. For the former Prime Minister, Raymond Ndong Sima, member of this platform, we must forget the last election and organize another election on new bases, he explains to the microphone of our correspondent, Yves-Laurent Goma.

“It is essential that we resume the entire election after correcting the texts that govern these elections, so that we have a separate presidential election, separate legislative elections and separate local elections.

Why am I against the vote count? Because the CGE [Gabonese Centre for Elections, editor’s note] had in its hands all the electoral material, that is to say all the ballot boxes, that it conveyed them to the places where the elections took place, to the centres where the compilation was made. And therefore, no one can guarantee that during that period, the three days that passed, they did not comply with the results they give and the ballots that are in the ballot box, because you can well imagine that expecting a dispute before the Constitutional Court, they were able to make this maneuver. So that’s a risk I refuse to take.

No, my friends will understand that they are in their dreams, because if you have someone who cheats, he does not cheat halfway.”

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