Libreville, Gabon —
In this article, NewsForKids.net looks at difficult political situations in three African nations, Gabon, Congo, and Madagascar.
Soldiers Try to Take Over in Gabon
Early Monday morning, several soldiers took over the national radio station in Gabon, saying they were in control of the country. The men were trying to take over the government by force.
Ali Bongo has been the president of Gabon since 2009. Before that, his father ruled the country for 42 years. In 2016, Mr. Bongo won an election that many people believed was unfair.
Mr. Bongo has been out of the country since October for medical reasons. Mr. Bongo recorded a New Year’s video to show his good health, but in the message he didn’t speak clearly and looked like he couldn’t move his right arm.
The soldiers who tried to take over didn’t seem well organized or well supported. The army was quickly able to take control of the radio station. Seven of the soldiers were arrested and two were killed.
The government has said people must remain in their houses at night and it has shut down the Internet. A man speaking for the government said, “The situation is under control.” But many people wonder what will happen if Mr. Bongo’s health does not improve.
Congo Election Results Delayed
On December 30, the Democratic Republic of Congo held elections – a week later than planned. Some areas of the country were not able to vote because of diseases or other problems. There were also many reports of things that seemed unfair about the election.
The results were not reported last Sunday as planned, and no new date has been set. The Catholic Church says it had 40,000 people watching the voting, and that there was a “clear winner”. The church has not named the winner. Many people believe it is Martin Fayulu, who is running against the current government.
The country is growing more tense as time goes on. The government has shut down the Internet in the country to keep “false” stories from spreading. Violence followed Congo’s elections in 2006 and 2011. Many people are worried that the same thing could happen again.
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
Madagascar Election Results
Madagascar’s highest court said Tuesday that Andry Rajoelina has been elected as the country’s new president. The race for president was a tight one between two men who have been fighting to control Madagascar for almost ten years.
In 2009, the army helped Mr. Rajoelina force out Marc Ravalomanana, who was president at the time. Over time, some of the problems between the two men were settled. Neither was allowed to run in Madagascar’s 2013 election.
Mr. Ravalomanana’s supporters protested December’s election results, which showed Mr. Rajoelina winning, with 55.7% to Mr. Ravalomanana’s 44.3%. Now the high court has agreed that the results are fair. Both men have agreed to accept the court’s decision.
In the past, Mr. Rajoelina has taken extreme steps to make himself more powerful. It seems he may do so again – he has promised to get rid of Madagascar’s Senate.
Did you know…?
The three countries in this story are still fairly young nations. All of them have only become independent of outside rulers in the last 60 years. Gabon’s constitution (the rules for how the country works) has been written and changed four times since 1960. The other two countries have constitutions that are less than 12 years old.