Gabon Suspended from African Union: Unraveling the Political Turmoil

On Thursday, August 31, the African Union suspended Gabon from all its activities, organs, and institutions until constitutional order is restored in the country. This decision came after a meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council, led by Bankole Adeoye, head of political affairs for the African bloc, and Willy Nyamitwe, the current chair of the council.

The suspension follows a recent coup in Gabon, where soldiers ousted President Ali Bongo and installed a general as the head of state. The coup occurred shortly after an election body declared Bongo the winner of a controversial third term, marked by irregularities. The junta declared the election null and void, bringing an end to the Bongo family dynasty’s nearly six decades in power.

This coup adds to a series of political upheavals in the region, with eight coups occurring since 2020 in countries like Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Chad, and Niger. These events have eroded democratic progress made since the 1990s and raised concerns among foreign powers with strategic interests in the region. They also highlight the limited influence of African powers once the military takes control.

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