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Gabon's opposition leader claims coup is a 'family affair'

Gabon's opposition leader claims coup is a 'family affair'
Opposition leader Albert Ondo Ossa   -  
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While people in Gabon have been celebrating Wednesday’s coup, the country’s main opposition leader has claimed things have not changed much.

Soldiers seized power just hours after now-ousted President Ali Bongo was announced as the winner of the presidential poll.

They accused him of rigging the results of last weekend’s elections so that he could have a third term in office. Bongo’s family has ruled the country for close to 60 years.

The next day, the military announced that General Brice Oligui Nguema would be sworn in as "President of the Transition" on Monday.

But in an interview with French media outlet, TV5 Monde on Thursday, Albert Ondo Ossa, he described the coup as a “family affair” and a “palace revolution” aimed at keeping them in power.

"Oligui Nguema is Ali Bongo's cousin. The campaign was 60 years of Bongo is too much. The Bongos have decided to put Ali Bongo aside and continue their system by putting in place a Bongo CEO system,” he said, “And they have put forward Oligui Nguema. In this way the Bongo system continues."

His comments came days after the military seized power putting Bongo under house arrest, accusing him of irresponsible governance that risked leading the oil-rich country into chaos.

"Behind Oligui Nguema, there is no need to look far, it’s Pascaline Bongo (Ali Bongo’s sister). That’s all. She stands behind Oligui Nguema, and the Bongo clan continues being in power.”

"It's a palace revolution, so there's no military coup. The proof is that it was the praetorian guard that carried out the palace revolution. The other soldiers were not involved," said Ondo Ossa.

He lost the presidential election to Bongo by more than 30 percentage points, following an electoral process that was widely seen as lacking in transparency.

"I'm asking for the real results, which are known to all diplomatic missions. The results are known to everyone. Let the real results be given. That’s where I am at."

The opposition had previously thanked the army for having stood up against what it described as “an electoral coup", and urged the military to complete the counting of ballots.