Oil-rich Gabon, ruled by the same political dynasty for nearly half a century, votes on Saturday in long-delayed legislative and municipal polls after a presidential election two years ago that was marred by deadly violence and allegations of fraud. The controversial re-election of President Ali Bongo in August 2016 by just a few thousand votes led opposition leader Jean Ping to claim that victory had been stolen from him. Violence broke out and dozens of people were killed according to the opposition, but the government says only four died. Ping’s headquarters was bombed and the opposition also claimed that widespread human rights abuses were committed by armed militias that took to the streets.
But ahead of this weekend’s vote, pushed back three times since 2016, the campaign was low key.
Posters dotted the capital Libreville asking the country’s 680 000 voters to turn up to elect 143 new MPs as well as other local officials.