#COVID19: Gabon Opposition Leader Accuses Govt Of Using Regulations To Oppress Citizens

The Government of Gabon has come under criticism by the opposition leader over restrictive measures put in place towards containing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The leader of the Gabonese opposition party, Alliance pour la renaissance nationale (ARENA), has said the government of President Ali Bongo Ondimba is “profiting from the opportunity given it by the COVID-19 pandemic to oppress the opposition and the Gabonese people.”

Speaking in the capital Libreville on Monday, March 15, Richard Moulomba declared that “the COVID-19 has offered the government an occasion to imprison the people, to silence them, to deprive them of their fundamental rights and liberties both collectively and individually.”

The ARENA President said faced with these crimes which attained a new high with the killing of protesters of the “Dish Revolution”, he had no option but to call on the Prime Minister and the Ministers of Defense, Interior and Health to resign.

“How does one understand that the government tolerates or authorises that citizens that it swore to serve and protect, be shot at with real bullets just because they came out with empty pots on the streets?” Moulomba said.

“This disproportionate response alone is enough to disqualify and push them to the door of resignation.”

He argued that certain COVID-19 restrictive measures, such as confinement, were no longer justifiable.

“Let us not be a bad copy of the measures taken by France. Let us get our scientists, experts, researchers, virologists including our local herbalists to intervene in order to find solutions,” he said.

“In addition, we are the rare nation in sub-Saharan Africa to order confinement and the only one which curfew has lasted this long.”

According to him, “Cameroon and Benin, for example, have made the choice of not killing the economy and the populations at the same time.”

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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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