Gabon’s 14 presidential aspirants including the incumbent President Ali Bongo Ondimba have officially began campaigning on Saturday towards the August 27 presidential election.
The incumbent’s campaign posters have swallowed that of the opposition parties especially in the capital Libreville, AFP reports.
President Ali Bongo is expected to hold a huge rally at the Libreville stadium on Saturday afternoon, as announced by the country’s major media platforms.
The former president of the African Union Commission, Jean Ping, who is one of the main candidates in the election is also expected to hold a rally today in the Lambarene region in the central part of the country.
Another candidate and former president of the National Assembly Guy Nzouba Ndama was not allowed to hold a rally in another stadium in Libreville on Saturday, his aides said. They have however requested to hold their rally on Monday.
Another strong opposition is the former Prime Minister Casimir Oye Mba who promised to take the election to the second round. He and other candidates who were close allies of the president’s father Omar Bongo, claim that Ali Bongo was adopted from Nigeria and cannot be the President of Gabon.
The opposition have strongly campaigned to bring constitutional reforms in the country.
The international community has called for the respect of freedom of expression, association and assembly as well as equitable access to the country’s public media. These were jointly voiced in a statement on Friday by UN and EU representatives including embassies of France, the United States, Germany, Spain and Italy.