Gabonese go to the polls to elect a president on August 27. The incumbent Ali Bongo Ondimba’s main challenge will be from former African union chairperson, Jean Ping.
The African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU) have both sent election observer missions to participate in the process. The United Nations through its Secretary General have also issued a “peace before during and after” message.
African Union’s two phased mission
The AU Election Observer Mission (AUEOM) will be dispatched in two phases.
The first phase comprises the deployment of 12-member long term election experts who have been in Gabon from 7 August and are expected to complete their task on 11 September 2016.
As was the case during the Zambia polls, the AU’s long term experts include election – legal – political – media – analysts. The Experts will ensure that the AUEOM approaches its work with added professionalism and factual analyses of the legal, political, electoral and media during this electoral process in Gabon.
The second phase comprises a short term 40-member team led by former president of Mauritius, Cassam Uteem. That team has also been in Gabon from the 20th August and are expected to depart on 2 September 2016.
The objectives of the Mission are:
(a) to provide an accurate and impartial reporting or a global assessment of the 27th August Presidential Elections in the Republic of Gabon, including the degree to which the conduct of this election meets regional, continental and international standards for democratic elections;
(b) to offer recommendations for improvement of future elections; and
© to demonstrate AU’s interest to support Gabon’s elections and democratization process to ensure that the conduct of credible elections contributes to the consolidation of democratic governance, peace and stability in Gabon in particular and the Central African sub-region in general.
The United Nations Secretary General speaks
The United Nations (UN) have also tasked the people of Gabon to conduct their elections in an atmosphere of peace and healthy competition.
According to the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, whiles looking forward to a peaceful process, he expects all stakeholders to “maintain a peaceful atmosphere before, during and after the election”.
He further tasked that in the event of any disagreements, candidates should address any complaints through established legal and constitutional channels.
Gabon:the UNSG urges stakeholders/candidates to exercise restraint,abstain from any acts of incitement or the use of inflammatory statements— ONU Afrique centrale (@UNOCA_NEWS) August 26, 2016
The European Union mission
For their part, the EU chief Federica Mogherini named Mariya Gabriel, vice president of the EPP group in the European parliament to lead the EU Election Observer Mission (EUEOM) team.
Mariya and her team of experts have been meeting with key stakeholders in the electoral process. EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament, they claim to defend centre-right policies to promote growth and jobs in a more integrated Europe.
“I encourage all stakeholders to do their utmost to ensure the transparency necessary for a smooth election.
“Confidence in the credibility and accuracy of the election results is greatly enhanced when the compilation process and publication of results is conducted with transparency and speed,” Mariya said in a press statement on Thursday.