Tension eased in Gabon’s capital on Saturday after days of deadly rioting triggered by an announcement that President Ali Bongo narrowly won re-election in a vote the opposition said was stolen. More than 1,000 others were arrested in the protests that began on Wednesday and the opposition, led by Jean Ping who claims he is now president, said five people also died. Shops began to re-open on Saturday and some traffic returned to the streets as the government sought to restore stability with mass arrests and a heavy security presence. At the same time some impoverished residents of Libreville who need to buy food every day said they hoped for a return to normality given the hardship caused by closed shops and markets. “The last few days were really difficult for us. The fact that traffic has started to move is very important … because our families have really suffered,” said Alex Ndong, 42, a mechanic who lives in the Lalala suburb of south Libreville. “I hope everything goes back to normal as quickly as possible,” he said.Full Article: Tension eases in Gabon capital after riots over disputed election | Reuters.
Post-election violence in Gabon left one person dead on Thursday after officials declared the incumbent president, Ali Bongo Ondimba, the winner in a race that the opposition said had been marked by fraud. A civilian, who was not identified, died as security forces encircled the party headquarters of the opposition candidate, Jean Ping, early Thursday after hundreds of people had taken to the streets of the capital, Libreville. The protesters had set fires and insisted that Mr. Bongo had stolen the vote to claim a second term in office. Violence surged almost immediately after the release of election results Wednesday night that said Mr. Bongo, whose family has held the presidency since the late 1960s, had narrowly edged out Mr. Ping in voting on Saturday. The military was sent in to quell the demonstrations, aiming tear gas at protesters who were demanding a recount.Full Article: Violence After Gabon Elections Leaves One Dead - The New York Times.
Demonstrators in Gabon clashed with police and set part of the parliament building on fire on Wednesday amid anger among opposition supporters over President Ali Bongo’s re-election in polls that his main rival, Jean Ping, claimed to have won. Opposition members of the Central African oil producer’s electoral commission rejected Saturday’s first-past-the-post election result, which would see the Bongo family’s nearly half-century in power extended another seven years. France, the United States, and the European Union all urged calm on Wednesday and called upon Gabonese authorities to release the results of individual polling stations for greater transparency. Bongo won 49.80 percent of votes, compared to 48.23 percent for Ping, with a turnout of 59.46 percent, according to results announced region by region by Interior Minister Pacome Moubelet Boubeya.Full Article: Gabon's President Bongo re-elected, parliament set on fire | Reuters.
Security forces fanned out across Gabon’s capital and residents stockpiled food on Tuesday as the central African country awaited results of a hotly contested presidential election. The most prominent opposition candidate, Jean Ping, was looking to defeat incumbent President Ali Bongo Ondimba and topple a family dynasty that stretches back to the 1960s. Bongo, 57, came to power after the death of his father, Omar Bongo, who ruled Gabon for more than 40 years. Ping, 73, has spent the three days since Saturday’s vote predicting victory and calling on Bongo to step down. Bongo’s camp, meanwhile, has said the president is sure to win.Full Article: Tension mounts as Gabon awaits results of presidential vote.
Gabon’s presidential election “lacked transparency”, the head of the 73-strong EU electoral monitoring team in the country said on Monday, a day before the official results were due out. Speaking to reporters in the capital Libreville, Bulgarian MEP Mariya Gabriel said Saturday’s vote in the oil-rich Central African country, was “managed in a way that lacked transparency.” “The mission condemns the lack of transparency in the electoral bodies which failed to make essential information available to the campaigns, like the electoral roll or a list of polling stations,” she said. The EU observers said that a week before the election only half of voters had received their ballot cards. The remarks came after a bitterly disputed election in which both sides accused the other of electoral fraud. Official results will not be published until Tuesday, and there are fears that the tensions may erupt into a repeat of the violence seen after the disputed 2009 election.Full Article: Gabon presidential poll 'lacked transparency': EU observers | Daily Mail Online.
Supporters of Gabon’s president and his chief rival have both said they expect to win an election that has proved to be the most serious challenge yet to the Bongo family’s half-century rule. The rival, Jean Ping, 73, traded accusations of fraud that raised the prospect of increased tension in the wake of an uncharacteristically bitter campaign. Ping distributed figures showing him easily beating incumbent Ali Bongo Ondimba in Saturday’s vote. “The general trends indicate we are the winner of this important presidential election,” Ping told reporters and a large crowd of cheering supporters gathered at his campaign headquarters in the capital, Libreville. “Despite numerous irregularities … you have managed to thwart this regime’s congenital traps of fraud.”Full Article: Both sides in Gabon presidential election claim victory | World news | The Guardian.
Election placards along the main highways of Libreville, capital of Gabon, praise President Ali Bongo and his Gabonese Democratic Party for building kilometers of tarmac roads, creating new jobs and attracting foreign investment. Bongo is seeking to convince voters that his plans for modernization and development can turn Gabon into an emerging economy. His critics accuse him of wanting to install a dictatorship. Bongo’s rival for the presidency is Jean Ping, a former chairman of the African Union Commission and leader of the Gabonese Progress Party. The popular 74-year-old is promising reforms and is critical of the current condition of the Gabonese judiciary. “One of the most important measures that we must carry out is to restore the independence and credibility of the justice system,” he said. In his campaign speeches, Ping says he wants more democracy. He is also promising improvements to infrastructure and health.Full Article: Uncertainty ahead of Gabon elections | Africa | DW.COM | 25.08.2016.
Gabon voted on Saturday amid discontent over its failure to raise living standards despite oil wealth, in a poll posing the biggest challenge yet to President Ali Bongo, whose family has run the central African nation for half a century. With state machinery and entrenched patronage networks behind him, Bongo, 57, is likely to be returned, seven years after winning his first election following the death of his father Omar, who ruled for 42 years. Polls closed at 7 p.m. (2.00 p.m ET), an hour late to allow people were still waiting to vote to do so. Voting was mostly calm, although witnesses said a few scuffles broke out in one area as tempers flared in long queues to cast ballots. Results are not expected until Monday or Tuesday, although partial results may start trickling out on Sunday. Land and sea borders were shut on Saturday until 8 p.m. (1900 GMT).Full Article: Bongo aims to extend 50-year family rule in Gabon election | Reuters.
Hot on the heels of the Zambian election, an anxiously awaited election is looming in Gabon where President Ali Bongo Ondimba and his motley opponents are rounding off campaigns. Ahead of next Saturday’s election, tension is high with increased police presence in capital Libreville. Fourteen candidates have been approved by the electoral commission. Bongo’s main challenger is former African Union Commission chief Jean Ping who was selected by opposition barons. Bongo is seeking a second seven-year term even as the Opposition challenges his eligibility.Full Article: Focus shifts to Gabon after Zambian election - Daily Nation.
Gabon’s main opposition parties chose former foreign minister Jean Ping as their candidate in an election on Aug. 27 against President Ali Bongo, who is standing for a second term. Ping, aged 74, is considered one of Africa’s foremost diplomats. He has served as chairman of the African Union commission and as president of the U.N. General Assembly. “I understand the gravity of the task I have been given,” Ping told thousands of cheering supporters in Libreville. “I won’t disappoint you.” Ping has an unusual history for an African politician. His father was a Chinese businessman who came to Gabon in the 1930s, married the daughter of a traditional chief and grew rich trading goods including timber and seafood. Ping came to wealth and prominence as an ally and protege of Omar Bongo, the father of Ali Bongo. But he fell out with the son and resigned from the ruling party in 2014 to become a vehement government critic.Full Article: Gabon opposition chooses Ping as candidate for August 27 election | Reuters.
Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba has warned of possible unrest during the August 27 election which he said was the “strategy” of the opposition challenging his eligibility to seek a second seven-year term. “It is to be feared, because it is the opposition’s strategy for many years,” Bongo said in an interview with the weekly “Jeune Afrique” published yesterday which asked him if he feared “abuses and even violence” after the vote. The opposition “has started to heat things up by announcing that the election will not be transparent, that we will steal victory,” the president said. Bongo described as “nonsense” the arguments of critics who have opposed his re-election on the grounds that he was a Nigerian who was adopted in the 1960s by his father, long-ruling former president Ali Bongo, and was therefore ineligible as a foreigner under the constitution.Full Article: Gabon president warns of unrest during August elections | The Indian Express.
Security forces in Gabon violently charged at demonstrators gathering in Libreville in the lead-up to presidential elections and beat an AFP cameraman covering the protest, a colleague said. Defying a heavy police presence, hundreds of protesters took to the streets in opposition to President Ali Bongo Ondimba’s candidacy for re-election on August 26, the AFP correspondent said. Some 15 opposition leaders also attended the protest, forming a human chain at the front of the crowd. Among them was presidential candidate Guy Nzouba Ndama, the former parliamentary speaker. The young protesters broke into song, chanting the national anthem as the security forces began firing tear gas at the crowd. Police then moved to break up the protest and several shots were heard, according to the AFP journalist who saw 70-year-old Nzouba Ndama running for cover with other demonstrators. Armed, masked members of the security forces grabbed the AFP journalist’s cameraman colleague and threw him onto a pick-up truck, even though his camera was clearly marked.Full Article: Gabon police charge at protesters, beat AFP cameraman | Daily Mail Online.
Gabon’s National Electoral Commission, CENAP, has validated the candidature of president Ali Bongo Ondimba and 13 others vying for the presidency. “Out of the 13 candidates, there was that of Ali Bongo. There was consensus on the other 13 candidates except that of Ali Bongo. The plenary assembly usually takes decisions based on consensus and when there is no consensus, the vote of the bureau decides. A vote took place in accordance with the law of the electoral commission. Therefore, only electoral commission decided, concerning Ali Bongo’s candidature 5 votes against 3 for the opposition.” The decision has however been strongly criticised by opposition representatives at the electoral commission who are raising voices that Ali Bongo has changed his birth certificate.Full Article: Gabon: Ali Bongo's candidature validated amidst controversy | Africanews.
Gabonese opposition parties submitted more than 2,500 complaints over President Ali Bongo’s decision to run for re-election next month, including allegations that he was adopted and born abroad, and therefore not eligible to lead the oil-producing nation. Bongo, 57, won a first term in 2009 after the death of his father Omar Bongo, who ruled Gabon from 1967. His application for re-election was among about 20 other bids for candidacy submitted before the midnight deadline on July 12, Rene Aboghe Ella, head of the electoral commission, told reporters in Libreville, the capital.Full Article: Gabonese Opposition Disputes Bongo’s Candidacy for Re-Election - Bloomberg.