Opposition politicians Mike Jocktane and Thérence Gnembou, along with their party, were recently granted temporary release in Gabon. They had withdrawn from the last presidential election to support the opposition’s consensus candidate, Albert Ondo Ossa.
The trio had attempted to travel to Equatorial Guinea to deliver a message to the heads of state of the Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC). These regional leaders had convened to discuss the situation in Gabon following the August 30 coup which ousted Ali Bongo’s government.
Arrested on September 5, Mike Jocktane and Thérence Gnembou spent 39 days in prison in Oyem, northern Gabon. Mike Jocktane, when contacted by our correspondent in Libreville, Yves-Laurent Goma, explained their intention: “We sought mediation with the new authorities on behalf of Professor Albert Ondo Ossa. We believed he had popular legitimacy, while the CTRI had the effective power to determine the key principles of the transition. Since our consensus candidate won the election, we should have been involved in shaping the new Gabon we all aspire to.”
No “Seditious” Message
Jocktane further clarified, “We were not carrying a seditious message. What we were seeking was the mediation of the regional heads of state to ensure peace. Today, we are on temporary release, and we do not doubt that our innocence will be fully established. We stand ready to cooperate with the transitional authorities to turn this challenging chapter in our history.”