The 63 Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) that met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly to discuss developments in member states expressed collective concern of the Commonwealth on the political situation in Gabon and it strongly condemned the unconstitutional removal of the elected government from office.

This meeting that was chaired by the Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Tourism, of Samoa Hon Fiamē Naomi Mata’afa, on Monday also called for the restoration of democracy in the West African country.

Attended by Ministers from Barbados, Canada, Ghana, Mauritius, and Rwanda, and representatives of Belize, Malaysia and Malta, the meeting decided to partially suspend Gabon from the Commonwealth pending the restoration of democracy In accordance with the steps set out in the Millbrook Commonwealth Action Programme on the Harare Declaration.

On 30 August 2023, a coup d’état occurred in Gabon shortly after the announcement that incumbent president Ali Bongo Ondimba had won the general election held on 26 August. This coup initiated by military officers led by General Brice Oligui Nguema seized power, put Ali Bongo under house arrest and brought an end to the 56-year-long rule of the Bongo family over Gabon. 

According to the Ministers, this partial suspension entails suspension from the Councils of the Commonwealth, and the exclusion of Gabon from all Commonwealth intergovernmental meetings and events, including ministerial meetings and CHOGM.

Furthermore, these Ministers determined that if acceptable progress is not made within two years, consideration will be given to fully suspending Gabon from membership of the Commonwealth. The Ministers in addition urged the Secretary-General to continue her Good Offices engagement with Gabon, including providing technical assistance, with a view to redressing the situation and facilitating Gabon’s return to democracy.

This Group collectively called upon Gabon as a Commonwealth member, to uphold the values and principles of the Commonwealth and to hold credible elections as soon as possible and within a maximum of two years from 30 August 2023.

CMAG was formed in 1995 to be a custodian of fundamental political values of the Commonwealth. It is made up of a rotating group of foreign ministers from eight countries, drawn from different regions, plus the foreign minister of the Commonwealth Chairperson-in-Office, the host of the previous Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

Kimera Abdul is a Senior Journalist with Plus News Uganda. He identifies as an adaptable and enthusiastic individual who works to inspire generations. He posses a Diploma and Broadcast journalism and has...

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