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Gabon coup leader Gen Brice Nguema turns down presidential salary

Brice Oligui Nguema

Gabon’s military leader Gen Brice Oligui Nguema has said he is giving up his salary as president and will only receive a wage as commander of the republican guard.

He became the interim president following the overthrow of President Ali Bongo in August.

Wednesday night’s announcement was made by the junta spokesperson, who said Gen Nguema took the decision because he was “aware of the social emergencies and many expectations of the Gabonese people”.

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“Each day that passes allows the [junta] to become more aware of the general state of deterioration of the country and of public finances in particular,” Col Ulrich Manfoumbi said.

Deposed President Bongo’s 14-year rule was marred by allegations of corruption and other financial scandals, with the junta saying the country’s finances are “victim of a real criminal fury”.

Apart from renouncing his salary as president, Gen Nguema also decided to reduce public spending by slashing the allowances for lawmakers, eliminating political funds and cutting session allowances. The presidency said this would consolidate the state’s funds.

The latest move has been seen as an attempt to restore the Gabonese people’s confidence in the country’s leadership.

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