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Many challenges await Gabon's new strongman

Gabon's new strongman General Brice Oligui Nguema speaks as he is inaugurated as Gabon's interim President, in Libreville on September 4, 2023   -  
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As Gabon welcomes its new interim president, general Oligui Nguema will face political hurdles moving forward.

In a just a few days pupils will be back to school. Gabonese teachers await general Nguema's strategy on a firm foot.

The freeze on hiring since 2018 and the suspension of a salary before the civil servants are given a posting are just two issues that have made the job more pracrious, unionist Sima Bertin says. 

"Three major issues come immediately come to mind. First, the administrative situations of teachers must be regularized. The second is the regularization of their financial situation, including the payment of arrears. Last but not least, the pension should be indexed to the teachers' remuneration systems','  the Syndicat de l’éducation nationale member listed.

Marc Ona Essangui is a member of the Gabonese civil society. He says years of bad and poor governance have negatively affected Gabon's development.

"We cannot function in a country where justice is corrupted and rules according to given orders! We cannot function in a country if the civic space is limited. We need a public space where citizens can express their opinions, where the press is independent and where the rule of law reigns. If we have all of these, we can live free of the fear of a dictatorship. A state ruled by law is a state where citizens as well as the state abide by the law."

State instutitions have faced endurign challenges. Issues of transparency and efficiency have been raised. The restauration of these institutions are essential accordign to Anges Kevin Nzigou.

"A precise timeline to free and transparent elections should be set up. If we want to organize real elections, we shouldn't come up with a 6-month, 1-year or 2-year deadline," the secretary general of opposition party "Pour le changement" (PLC) said.

"f it is necessary that it takes 6 years for our country to definitely be free, let it last 6 years."

During his inauguration ceremony, Gabon's new strongman promised to return power to civilians after free, transparent, and credible elections.

He also called on all the nation to work together to write a new constitution that should be adopted by referendum.

For many here, Gabon's future depends on these changes.

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