"Given his state of health, the former President of the Republic Ali Bongo Ondimba is free to move. He can, if he wishes, go abroad to carry out his medical checks," Ulrich Manfoumbi Manfoumbi, spokesperson for the transitional government, said Wednesday in a statement "signed" by Brice Oligui Nguema, who was sworn in on Monday as transitional President.
On Wednesday, last week, a group of military officers appointed Nguema, commander-in-chief of the Gabonese Republican Guard, to head the transition after launching a coup earlier in the day following the announcement of the reelection of President Ali Bongo Ondimba by the national electoral body.
In his remarks on Monday, the transitional leader, 48, noted that the military took "their responsibilities" in the face of an "outrageously biased electoral process," referring to the coup.
"The defense and security forces of our country took their responsibilities by refusing the electoral coup," he explained.
Nguema promised a new constitution by referendum, a new electoral code and a reliable penal code. He also promised to "return power to civilians" and hold "free" and "transparent" elections after the transition without specifying the election date and duration of the transition.
According to Nguema, a new government "made up of experienced people and people with seasoned skills" will be implemented in the coming days.
Bongo, 64, once served as minister of defense and other posts in the government. He was elected president of Gabon in 2009 and was reelected in 2016. He was under house arrest, while some of his advisers and senior officials, including his son Noureddin Bongo Valentin, were said to have been arrested for treason, embezzlement and corruption, among other allegations.
Gabon’s leading opposition group, Alternance 2023, which claims to be the winner of the elections on Aug. 26, has called on the international community to encourage the junta to hand power back to civilians.