Wednesday, September 7, 2016

African Leaders Watch Gabon as Plans to Derail Democracy Continues in Africa

President Ali Bongo

On Wednesday August 31, 2016, Gabon's President Ali Bongo, the son of the country's late autocratic ruler Omar Bongo, was narrowly declared winner in presidential elections in the small African Country. He was declared winner over  opposition leader and former AU Chairman Jean Ping by slightly more than 5000 votes.

Some members of the electoral commission quickly cried foul citing irregularities. The country's official opposition has so far refused to accept the results asking for a recount of all the votes.

Opposition supporters, incensed by the election results, quickly took to the streets, setting buildings on fire and damaging the country's parliament. Even international observers have called for a recount and asked for a detailed publication all polling station results.
Jean Ping

What has truly incensed the opposition are clear examples of blatant electoral fraud in many regions of the country. For example in the President's home province of Haut-Ogooue, electoral turnout was reported at about 99% of registered voters, with the President winning over 95% of the vote in the area, even though the opposition leader clearly had a large number of supporters in the area.

The European Union has joined the chorus of calls for a recount and on Monday, the country's Justice Minister Seraphin Moundounga resigned, citing the refusal of the government to organize a recount of the votes.

However, the country's President has obstinately refused calls for a recount, instead stating that all further decisions on the matter be referred to the country's judiciary, many of whom are his loyal allies. He has also mobilized security forces to resist opposition protesters, resulting in many deaths and arrest.The opposition leader has yet to refer the matter to court.
Protests in Libreville

This evening the West African News correspondent in Libreville reported that the situation is slowly calming down, with banks reopening and transport vehicles getting back on the streets.

Ali Bongo has ruled Gabon since the death of his father in 2009. His father had ruled the small mineral rich country for 41 years and was known for his womanizing, flashy suits and flamboyant lifestyle. The opposition leader Jean Ping was for many years a close political ally of the late Omar Bongo and has held many international diplomatic positions.

Copyright © 2016 West African News

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