“Today, the happy times dreamed of by our ancestors are finally coming to us…”
September 4, 2023
Brice General Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguema, President of the Transition was sworn in on Monday, September 04, 2023 at the Palace of the Presidency of the Gabonese Republic. In his speech, which we offer you in full, the new strongman of Libreville gave thanks to the One who makes our lands fertile, Almighty God.
Ladies and gentlemen of the press;
Dear elders, Dear friends;
Gentlemen general officers;
Non-commissioned officers and non-commissioned members
Ladies and gentlemen, your ranks, ranks and qualities respected.
My dear compatriots
I would like to begin this speech by addressing with a grateful heart, thanksgiving to Almighty God.
It is thanks to his constantly renewed kindness to our country Gabon that we can proudly stand here this morning in this Hemicycle of the Palais de la Renovation. This same God, who spoke to us on the morning of August 30, 2023, and who continues to speak to us, is the one who has led our steps thus far.
Allow me to remind you of the words spoken by the late President Omar Bongo in this room, at the end of 42 years of reign after the late President Léon MBA, first President of Gabon: ”God did not give us the right to make Gabon what we are doing, he is watching us. He says have fun. The day he also wants to sanction us, he will do so’’
This phrase full of wisdom was in reality the voice of God who ended up accomplishing his will for the Gabonese people today.
Gabonese, Gabonese, my dear compatriots
Allow me to express my sincere thanks to all those who, many, many, traveled to take part in this investiture ceremony.
I have a special thought for all the Gabonese people in the Diaspora who are following this ceremony from where they are.
But above all I have a special thought for all our compatriots who would have dreamed of living this day but have preceded us in the afterlife. I think of all the supporters of change and alternation: Simon Oyono Aba’a, Martin Oulabou, Peter Louis Agondjo Okawè, Peter Mamboundou Mamboundou, Andrew Mba Obama to quote only those.
As former Ghanaian President Jerry John Rawlings said:When the people are crushed by their leaders, with the complicity of the judges, it is up to the army to give them back their freedom’’.
It is with this spirit that on August 30, 2023, like a meteorite in the dark night, the Defense and Security Forces of our country took their responsibilities by refusing the electoral coup d’état which had just been announced by the Gabonese Elections Center following an outrageously biased electoral process.
It is without any violence, without clashes and without bloodshed that the Committee for the Transition and Restoration of Institutions (CTRI) changed the regime in place, which had confiscated the power of the institutions of the Republic for several years, in contempt flagrant violation of democratic rules.
This unprecedented patriotic action will undoubtedly remain a “test case” in the annals of history.
The Republican army refused to support a crime which, once too often, would have cost the lives of many citizens. The people simply demand that their rights be guaranteed through functional institutions.
The Defense and Security forces had a double choice: either kill Gabonese people, who would have legitimately demonstrated, or put an end to a rigged electoral process, the conditions of which did not allow democratic expression.
It is with full responsibility that we said: “ NO. Never again in our beautiful country Gabon! “. This is an opportunity for us to thank the support of the people who spontaneously supported this patriotic act.
Our astonishment is great when we hear certain international institutions condemn the act committed by soldiers who only respected their oath under the flag: to save the Fatherland at the cost of their lives.
Desmond Tutu said, I quote, “ if you are neutral, faced with a situation of injustice, it is because you have chosen to be on the side of the oppressor “. We, the Defense and Security Forces, have chosen to be on the side of the people and freedom. Like General De Gaulle in the past.
My Dear Compatriots,
The constitution is the founding text of a state. It enshrines its institutions, its particular procedures and the representation mechanisms were no longer able to put our society in a position to follow. It is therefore important that Gabonese people from all walks of life agree to adopt, by referendum, a new constitution as well as an electoral code and a reliable penal code, which guarantees everyone the same opportunities.
Our country deserves strong, credible institutions, healthier governance, more in line with international standards in terms of respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms, democracy and the rule of law.
I also emphasize that Gabon is an indivisible country, in the diversity of its cultures, its ethnic complexity and its geography. The unity of our people must always be the essential condition for the exercise of our fundamental freedoms. I will personally ensure this throughout the transition period.
Just as I am committed to ensuring that the centuries-old relations between the Gabonese and our foreign brothers will always be relations of great friendship, tolerance and harmony.
Politics and administration in a country are areas of national sovereignty, saying so is in no way xenophobia.
My Dear Compatriots
In recent days, the Committee for the Transition and Restoration of Institutions has undertaken consultations with all the active forces of the Nation.
The concerns raised are legitimate and clear. Also, with the government that will be put in place in a few days, made up of experienced people and people with proven competence, we will work to give everyone reasons to hope for a better life.
Here and now, I solemnly undertake to spare no effort so that at the end of this transition our country is equipped with strong, democratic and credible institutions.
In international law it is said that relations between states are above people. In other words, men pass and the State remains. Gabon was one of the founding members of numerous regional and sub-regional organizations, and as such, it intends to fully play its role in the concert of nations.
Today, the happy times dreamed of by our ancestors are finally coming to us. We therefore need profound changes, resulting from our common reflection. This is why I am already instructing the future government to think without delay about the mechanisms to put in place in order to:
Facilitate the return to the country of all political exiles;
Restore the scholarship for secondary school students;
Amnesty prisoners of conscience;
Finance the national economy with local partners and local financial institutions;
Create synergy, with the support of local banks, for the payment of retirees’ pensions;
Revise the conditions for granting Gabonese nationality;
Revise land laws in the Gabonese Republic.
At the end of this transition, with the contribution of all Gabonese development partners, we intend to hand over power to civilians by organizing new free, transparent and credible elections in peace.
Tribute to the founding fathers of our beautiful Nation.
Gabonese people, it is finally our rise towards happiness.
Honor and loyalty to the homeland.
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