Rwanda and Cameroon have swiftly taken significant actions in response to the recent military coup that ousted President Ali Bongo from leadership in Gabon. This unexpected event has reverberated worldwide, prompting condemnation from various nations including the United Nations and the African Union.
The Gabon coup, which unfolded on a Tuesday night, marked the latest occurrence in a series of military coups that have ousted democratically elected leaders across several nations. Notable examples include Niger Republic, Mali, Sudan, Burkina Faso, and Guinea-Bissau.
In the wake of these unsettling events, Rwanda has initiated substantial changes within its security forces. President Paul Kagame, through the Rwanda Defense Force (RDF), has undertaken a multi-pronged approach to ensure stability. This involves both the promotion of young soldiers and the retirement of long-standing military figures. Among the notable retirees are Gen. James Kabarebe, Gen. Fred Ibingira, and Lt. Gen. Charles Kayonga, who have each played pivotal roles in Rwanda’s history, including serving as chief of defense staff.
Kagame’s strategic moves include promoting a new generation of officers to the rank of colonel and appointing fresh generals to lead army divisions stationed across the nation. The RDF’s statement reveals that Kagame has sanctioned the retirement of a dozen generals, 83 senior officers, six junior officers, and 86 senior non-commissioned officers. Additionally, approximately 678 soldiers have retired following the expiration of their contracts, with 160 others being discharged for medical reasons.
In a parallel move, Cameroon’s President Paul Biya, one of the longest-serving African leaders, has also undertaken significant appointments at the Defense Ministry’s central administrative unit. While no specific reason is provided for these shifts, the prevailing concern over the proliferation of military coups within the African continent is evident.
Biya’s tenure, which has spanned since 1975, underscores his commitment to preventing his country from falling victim to coup-related instability. His recent reshuffling of the military hierarchy aims to bolster stability and enhance preparedness against potential challenges.
The move comes after military officers in Gabon declared they had seized power, placing Bongo under house arrest. This abrupt decision comes hot on the heels of Bongo being declared the victor of a contentious presidential election, where he secured 64.27% of the votes.
Officers of the Gabonese Armed Forces justified their takeover, stating their intent was to “defend peace” and end Bongo’s “irresponsible, unpredictable governance.” Bongo, a stalwart in Gabonese politics since 2009, has faced a military coup before, back in 2019. As the situation escalated, the president made a plea through a video on social media, assuring his well-wishers that he was unharmed while admitting he was unaware of the complete scenario.
Information for this briefing was found via AA, Business Day, and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.