The man who led the coup that ousted Gabon’s President Ali Bongo has been sworn in as interim president.
General Brice Oligui Nguema’s swearing in on Monday was cheered on by jubilant supporters as the ceremony was televised on national TV.
Some figures from Bongo’s government, including his vice president and prime minister, attended the ceremony.
Soldiers seized power last week minutes after election officials announced that Ali Bongo had won last month’s presidential elections.
The coup leaders canceled the election results and announced that the government had been dissolved.
Nguema has promised reforms including a new constitution to be adopted by referendum, new electoral and penal codes.
He also said political exiles would be welcomed back and political prisoners freed as part of those reforms.
“When the people are crushed by their leaders … it’s the army that gives them back their dignity,” he said.
“People of Gabon, today the times of happiness that our ancestors dreamt of are finally coming.”
Nguema also stressed that his administration would organise free and fair elections, but didn’t give any timeline.
“After this transition … we intend to return power to civilians by organising new elections that will be free, transparent, credible and peaceful,” he said.
Last week’s coup ended the Bongo dynasty which lasted for 56 years, first starting with Ali Bongo’s father, Omar in 1967.
“With the new government, made up of experienced people, we’re going to give everyone a chance to hope,” Nguema said.
Nguema is the the son of a military officer, who trained at Morocco’s Royal Military Academy.
He used to serve Ali Bongo’s father, the late President Omar Bongo.
Nguema shortly after Bongo came to power in 2009 was sent abroad on diplomatic missions officially.
He returned to Gabon to head the secret service before his 2019 appointment as head of the republican guard, a unit in charge of the president’s security.