On Monday, the United States terminated its assistance to Gabon following the August 30 coup. However, it expressed willingness to resume aid in exchange for tangible advancements towards democracy in the country.
The United States, which had already paused assistance after the military takeover, said it had formally determined that a coup took place, which under US law requires an end to non-humanitarian aid.
“We will resume our assistance alongside concrete actions by the transitional government toward establishing democratic rule,” Matthew Miller, the State Department spokesman said in a statement.
“The United States stands with the Gabonese people in their aspirations for democracy, prosperity and stability.“
In contrast to Niger, another African nation where the United States recently suspended aid due to a coup, U.S. assistance to Gabon has been relatively modest. Gabon, endowed with oil wealth and governed by the Bongo family for over fifty years, has seen limited American support.
Gabonese military leaders overthrew Ali Bongo Ondimba just as he was proclaimed the winner of an election widely criticised for irregularities.
The military installed as prime minister Raymond Ndong Sima, who had been an opposition leader.
Ndong Sima has appealed to Western powers not to generalize all military takeovers, emphasizing that this intervention helped avert unrest and tackled corruption concerns.
The deposed president’s Franco-Gabonese wife, Sylvia Bongo Ondimba Valentin, was jailed this month for alleged embezzlement of public funds.
Last week, General Brice Oligui Nguema, who took on the role of interim president following the ousting of President Ali Bongo in August, made a significant gesture by relinquishing his salary as president. He will now only receive a wage as commander of the republican guard.
The junta spokesperson stated that this decision was motivated by General Nguema’s awareness of the pressing social issues and high expectations of the Gabonese people.
As each day passes, the junta becomes more cognizant of the extent of the country’s deterioration, particularly in public finances.
The previous 14-year rule of deposed President Bongo had been marred by allegations of corruption and financial scandals, resulting in severe damage to the country’s finances.