The gloomy mood that had engulfed Gabon following the August last year’s military coup that had President Ali Bongo ousted from power has disappeared, a Catholic Bishop in the Central African nation has said.

In an interview with the information service of Propaganda Fide, Agenzia Fides, Bishop Jean-Vincent Ondo Eyene said that the people of God in Gabon seem contented with the country’s current political situation.

“Now we thank the Lord that the population seems contented after the events of August 30; the leaden cloak that weighed on it seems to have disappeared and people can breathe a sigh of relief,” Bishop Ondo Eyene said in the interview that Agenzia Fides published Wednesday, March 6.

After being ousted from power, President Bongo was reportedly placed under house arrest and General Brice Oligui Nguema appointed leader of the transition.

In November, Gabon’s military government announced a program to organize free, transparent, and credible elections to restore civilian rule by August 2025.

The military leaders said that before such elections, the sovereign people of Gabon will meet in a national dialogue in April 2024 to, among other things, adopt the transition plan.

Speaking to Agenzia Fides in the March 6 report, Bishop Ondo Eyene called for cautiousness despite the country’s calm situation.

The Bishop of Oyem Diocese who doubles as the president of the Episcopal Conference of Gabon (CEG) also appealed for appropriate use of the country’s mineral resources, saying, “Gabon needs to bring order to the management of its oil resources, which are a gift from God that must benefit the majority of the population.”

The 64-year-old Bishop who has been at the helm of the Gabonese diocese since his Episcopal ordination in May 2000 lamented that some families in the country have benefited from the oil revenues more than others.

He, however, expressed confidence in the ongoing initiatives to ensure equitable sharing of oil proceeds, saying, “There is an ongoing debate about how to better distribute oil wealth.”

“The new Head of State is trying to do this by initiating new projects to build infrastructure, housing, schools, and hospitals,” the local ordinary of Gabonese Oyem Diocese said.