Libreville was on edge on Tuesday ahead of the expected declaration of results from a weekend election that could decide the fate of President Ali Bongo and his family’s half-century grip on power in the oil-rich nation.
Bongo’s main challenger Jean Ping has already declared victory based on his own compilation of results. Some Gabonese who spoke to Reuters expressed different reactions.
“You see that the city is completely quiet. This is what the world feared. Everything that we want is fairness and also the government should do its job to make sure that the best will always be the best,” he added.
Gabon was caught up in a surprise on Tuesday when Jean Ping declared himself winner of the presidential election.
“We are able to say that I am the winner of the presidential elections in our country. I have stated my firm commitment to ensure the total safety of Mr. Ali Bongo Ondimba and his family.”
On the other hand, Bongo’s team also declared themselves winners of the election
“We are delighted with the information reaching us. We are able to say that our candidate prevailed in our country,” said Bongo’s spokesman.
Bongo, 57, has long sought to emerge from the shadow of his father, Omar Bongo, who ruled the central African country of 1.8 million people for 41 years until his death in 2009.
Ping, one of 10 candidates contesting the poll, is a former foreign minister and African Union Commission chairman, who was a close ally of Omar Bongo.