Despite overwhelming discontent, Gabonese want democracy and reject military rule, survey shows

Despite massive public dissatisfaction with the status quo, Gabonese citizens strongly support democracy and reject military and one-man rule, Afrobarometer’s most recent national survey shows.

Large majorities of the population disapprove of the country’s overall direction, the quality of their most recent election, President Ali Bongo’s performance, and the way their democracy is working – an overwhelming level of public discontent that may have emboldened military officers who this week attempted a coup. 

Yet similarly large majorities of the citizenry want democracy and elections and oppose authoritarian alternatives, the survey shows.

Gabon, an oil-rich country marked by widespread poverty, has been ruled since 1967 by Omar Bongo and, after his death in 2009, his son Ali Bongo, who claimed a second presidential term after a disputed 2016 election followed by violent protests.