The African Union says it plans to send observers to help Gabon’s Constitutional Court with a legal complaint lodged by opposition leader Jean Ping, who accuses President Ali Bongo of cheating to secure victory in an election last month. The dispute has led to riots that killed at least six people and brought unwelcome international scrutiny for Bongo, whose family has ruled the central African OPEC member for nearly 50 years. Ping, who officially lost by fewer than 6,000 votes, last week applied to the court to authorise a recount in the Haut-Ogooue province, Bongo’s stronghold, where the president won 95 percent of the votes on a 99.9 percent turnout. The Peace and Security Council of the African Union requested that its executive branch deploy observers from other French-speaking African countries “to assist the Constitutional Court of Gabon”, it said in a statement late on Tuesday.
The European Union, which sent an official observation team to the election and has cited anomalies in the poll results from Haut-Ogooue province, will maintain observers in the country.
It was not clear what level of access observers would have to the internal deliberations of the court, which is due to decide on the recount by Sept. 23.
Ping says he has no faith in the judicial body because of its ties to the Bongo family. The head of the court, Marie-Madeleine Mborantsuo, was the long-time mistress of Ali Bongo’s father Omar Bongo, who ruled for 41 years.
Full Article: AU plans to send observers to Gabon election appeal.