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Gabon: a jubilant transition to make a “clean slate” for the Bongos

Gabon: a jubilant transition to make a “clean slate” for the Bongos
People waving Gabonese flags attend the swearing-in ceremony of Brice Oligui Nguema   -  
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Gabonese people celebrated Monday with jubilation the inauguration of the new president of the transition, General Brice Oligui Nguema, in Libreville, their capital, hoping that his arrival and the transition he announced would mark the end of " asphyxiation ".

A crowd of thousands of people had formed since the early hours of the day on the esplanade of the Hassan II mosque which adjoins the presidential palace, to attend the inauguration ceremony of the new strong man of Gabon who ousted of power Ali Bongo Ondimba , who had held it for 14 years.

“We feel freedom, joy, happiness!” , enthuses Lucrèce Mengué, 28 years old, among the first arrivals to secure a place of choice “at the forefront of the history that is being written” , she says.

With her, thousands of people euphorically followed the ceremony on giant screens, waving hundreds of small tricolour flags : green, yellow, and blue, the colors of Gabon.

Holder of a BTS in logistics and job search, the young woman describes the “lead weight” which until now weighed on the youth of Gabon and which she hopes to see lifted with the end of the “Bongo dynasty”. which lasted 55 years.

READ ALSO: Gabon's Gen. Oligui Nguema sworn in as 'transitional' head of state

Ali Bongo, placed under house arrest by the military since the putsch, was elected in 2009 upon the death of his father Omar Bongo Ondimba , who had ruled this country, very rich in its oil and pillar of "Françafrique", for more than 41 years.

Delighted to present the musical band of the defense and security forces, Ghislain Bouemba, a 50-year-old police captain, also describes a “historic moment”. “We were asphyxiated. I think of the people who were before us in the armies, those who did not have the chance to experience that,” proclaims the official.

“We are young, we are doing good studies, but without being able to find work,” regrets Anouchka Minang, a 31-year-old midwife, unemployed for five years, and who takes on odd jobs to get by.

She says she is grateful that General Oligui has "taken a look at parents and retirees" , after his promise to privatize pension and health insurance funds in order to put an end to the nightmare of those who do not receive their pensions due to catastrophic management.

READ ALSO: Gabon's former opposition faces a military "transition" test

A situation denounced for years by civil society.

For Rémi Gaspard Ngoua, who calmly leaves the festivities, this measure was a “relief” . This civil service retiree should benefit from a monthly pension of 300,000 CFA francs (456 euros), but for the moment only receives half of it, a “ derisory” sum six times lower than his final salary. careers.

However, "it's when you retire that illnesses happen, so if you receive less than what was expected..." , breathes the 66-year-old man.

The deafening broncas punctuating each appearance on the screens of former leaders of Mr. Bongo's Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG), suggest challenges to be faced during the transition, with many people unreservedly displaying their doubts due to the presence of former close to power.

READ ALSO: Gabon: Brice Oligui Nguema promises to return power to civilians

In the crosshairs: former Prime Minister Alain-Claude-Bilie-By-Nze , but especially Rose Christiane Ossouka Raponda , former vice-president of Ali Bongo.

At each appearance, the one who flaunted during the campaign by guaranteeing the victory by "KO" of her champion in videos sometimes viral on social networks, was systematically booed, greeted with cries of "Ossouka in prison" , under the placid gaze of the members of the security forces.

A scene unimaginable a week ago.

“For the moment we don't need unity, they are embezzlers, Justice must be done and a clean slate,” says Joseph Akoughé, a 51-year-old salesman.

“They are the ones who caused us harm, they pretended to say that it was democracy, but it was a dictatorship in which they shared the cake. It stops there,” asserts Mr. Ngoua.

“We really don’t want them anymore. We have brave people to restore this country who are still clean,” he concludes.

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