from DIDIER NDONG in Libreville, Gabon
LIBREVILLE – THE military in Gabon has apparently restored the internet after seizing power from president-elect, Ali Bongo Bandima on Wednesday.
Bongo’s government had disrupted the internet during the elections that were held last Saturday.
He was announced the winner with 64 percent of the vote but critics alleged the poll was rigged, culminating in military officers ousting him from power.
NetBlocks, the watchdog organisation that monitors cyber security and the governance of the internet, reported the gradual restoration of the internet hours after the coup.
“Metrics show that internet connectivity has been largely restored in Gabon after military officers seized power,” it stated.
Bandima has been placed under house arrest amid the uncertain times in the Central African country of some 2,4 million people.
In terms of the governance of the internet, his administration has a soiled record.
Bandima came to power in 2009 following the death of his father, Omar Bongo, who ruled Gabon for 42 years.
He attained a second seven year term in 2016 but his election caused widespread anti-government demonstrations, clashes, looting and arson.
Government responded by shutting the internet.
Another blockade followed in 2019 after a failed coup.
The internet was shut again during protests over the government’s response to the elections.
According to NetBlocks, Gabon joins Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, among other African countries that have faced internet shutdowns and social media restrictions during elections in recent years.
– CAJ News