#COVID19: Gabon Constitutional Court Suspends Anti-COVID Measures Imposed By Government

The annulment order from the Constitutional Court was addressed to the Prime Minister on Dec. 15, the day the measures were supposed to have gone into effect.

The Constitutional Court of Gabon has suspended the recently-imposed new anti-COVID-19 measures announced on Oct. 27, 2021 and institutionalized by Prime Ministerial Arrete No 559/PM , on 25 Nov. 2021.

The Court, presided over by Chief Justice Marie-Madeleine Mborantsuo, annulled the anti-coronavirus measures following a prayer to the Court by the citizen movement, COPIL CITOYEN.

The most vexatious parts of the measures include the obligatory presentation of health passes such as an anti-COVID-19 vaccination card and PCR test results before being granted access to public offices, as well as the rather very high cost of the tests which rose from being free of charge to 20,000 FCFA (about 40 US dollars) for ordinary tests and from 20,000 FCFA to 50,000 FCFA (about 100 US dollars) for VIP tests.

The annulment order from the Constitutional Court was addressed to the Prime Minister on Dec. 15, the day the measures were supposed to have gone into effect.

Besides challenging the new measures in the Constitutional Court, civil society syndicates grouped under the auspices of COPIL CITOYEN represented by Jean Valentin Leyama and Geoffroy Foumboula Libeka also wrote to the Prime Minister and Head of Government calling for the annulment of the new measures.

Ater the Constitutional Court sent its ruling to the Prime Minister on Dec. 15, President Ali Bongo Ondimba still insisted during a cabinet meeting on Dec.17, 2021 that the government should “reinforce the staff and measures for taking charge in the vaccination sites and called on the population to privilege vaccination and maintain the rigorous observation of the barrier measures” in violation of the decision of the Constitutional Court.

However, another arm of government seems to be respecting the decision of the Constitutional Court, as the Minister of Interior, Lambert-Noel Matha in a letter dated Dec. 17, 2021 and addressed to the Commander of the National Police, called for the suspension of all COVID-19 barrier measures throughout the national territory.

The suspension of the measures draws its legality from Article 85 of the Gabonese constitution which envisages the suspension of the delay of promulgation of a law or its application, following a request by the Constitutional Court.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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