Gabon Amends Constitution Again.. Minister of Defense and Security to Be Appointed

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After a day of debates, parliamentarians convened in an extraordinary session on Friday evening and voted for a new reform of the constitutional charter to allow for the appointment of a Minister of Defense and Security. In the previous version, the transitional president held this position.

The offices of the Assembly and the Senate have adopted a new Article 35 to the Gabonese constitutional charter, established by the coup leaders after the fall of President Bongo. The transitional president no longer holds a ministerial portfolio.

This vote brings an end to a contradiction that has persisted for weeks. Indeed, the text stated that General Brice Oligui Nguema, the transitional president, also held the position of Minister of Defense and Security. However, for several weeks now, a Minister of Security and a Minister of Defense have been appointed to the government.

A Total Mess

During questioning, the Minister of Institutional Reform came under scrutiny. “The government is violating its charter. We cannot keep playing the firefighters every time,” expressed one participant in frustration. Parliamentarians have also called for a reexamination of the entire text to avoid further patch-ups.

An entanglement criticized by Me Anges Kevin Zigou, who had brought the matter to the Constitutional Court. The lawyer denounces “a total mess.” “The president is surrounded by jurists, how could they make such a fundamental mistake?” he wonders.

Some also suspect maneuvering, as the charter prohibits ministers from being presidential candidates. By relinquishing his portfolios, General Oligui Nguema might be preparing his candidacy. “I don’t believe it. The future national dialogue will lead to a new constitution and a complete overhaul,” confides one deputy.

Another change in Article 35, the head of state is chosen for the entire transition period. Thus, parliamentarians sought to avoid instability. “Power drives people mad and sharpens appetites. If there are disagreements, the military cannot change the president,” explains one parliamentarian.


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