#COVID19: Gabonese Citizen Coalition Calls For Protest Against Gov’t Measures

The protest, tagged ‘ghost town,’ intends to spur the Gabon gov’t to lift some of its COVID-19 restrictions and be more transparent in COVID-19 spending.

The Gabonese citizen coalition, COPIL CITOYEN, has called on Gabonese to observe a two-day protest known as ‘ghost towns’ on Thursday, Jan. 13, and Friday, Jan. 14, against restrictive measures imposed by the government to stop the COVID-19 pandemic.

The  COPIL CITOYEN call for the protest was contained in a communique issued on Monday, Jan. 10.

The decision to call for the protest follows failure by the Gabonese government and the parliament to come up with the best management of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To date, COPIL CITOYEN notes in regret that the two institutions thus approached have not deemed it fit to give a favourable ear to any of our demands,” the coalition said in its communique.

Among the demands by the Coalition was the publication without delay of the report on the parliamentary investigation on the management of COVID-19 funds estimated to be mismanaged. It also asked for the presentation of COPIL reports on the management of funds put at their disposal.

The citizen coalition also called for an end to the PCR VIP tests whose cost was hiked from 20,000 FCFA (about 40 US dollars) to 50,000 FCFA (about 100 US dollars). It said it should be replaced by free tests as well as the non-extension of the sanitary emergency after the expiration of the current legal duration.

The current legal duration is 45 days maximum.

For the COPIL CITOYEN members, by their silence, government and parliament have rejected “even the principle of responsible and consensual governance, which is more proportional and less politicised, of the COVID-19 pandemic proposed by COPIL CITOYEN.”

Saying it has taken note of this “umpteenth refusal which prolongs the sufferings daily endured by the Gabonese populations,” COPIL CITOYEN has called on the Gabonese populations to “massively observe” two days of ghost towns throughout the national territory from 7:30 a.m. on Jan.13 and 14.

The COPIL CITOYEN had called for one day of ghost towns on Dec.15, 2021 which was massively observed by the citizens.

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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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