For nearly 42 years, Omar Bongo ruled Gabon, presiding over a system of patronage that funneled much of the country’s oil wealth to his family, his clan and his cronies, while leaving most Gabonese short of housing, education, hospitals and hope. When Mr. Bongo died in 2009, his son, Ali Bongo Ondimba, succeeded him, winning an election marred by allegations of fraud and followed by violence. Many Gabonese hoped a new presidential election held on Aug. 27 would be different. That hope has been dashed. After election results last Wednesday gave Mr. Bongo a slim victory over his main challenger, Jean Ping, violence erupted in Libreville, the capital. Mr. Bongo responded by sending in the army and temporarily suspending the internet. At least six people died and more than 1,000 were arrested.
Calm has returned to Libreville, but the election result remains in dispute. While Mr. Bongo has been officially declared the winner, Mr. Ping has independently proclaimed himself president, saying he won by “a substantial vote margin.”
The main problem is the incredibly high number of votes in Mr. Bongo’s home district that tipped victory in the incumbent’s favor: Officials reported 99.9 percent voter turnout there, which seemed suspect, with 95 percent of the votes going to Mr. Bongo.
Full Article: The Disputed Vote in Gabon – The New York Times.