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Results from Bongo's stronghold reveals 'obvious anomaly' - EU observer mission

Results from Bongo's stronghold reveals 'obvious anomaly' - EU observer mission

Gabon

The European Union’s Election Observer Mission (EU EOM) in Gabon says it has found an obvious anomaly in the analysis of the final results of the presidential election held on August 27.

In a statement published on their website, the mission chief, Mariya Gabriel said they deplored the deaths and violence that broke out after the official announcement of results and extended condolences to affected families.

‘‘The EOM noted substantial differences between the various local and provincial election commissions in procedures and deadlines applied, and access provided to observers, during the phase of the consolidation of results,’‘ the statement read.

According to the statement, the mission was highly concerned about figures from the Haut-Ogooue region, which is a stronghold of incumbent Ali Bongo. ‘‘The 99.93% turnout in Haut-Ogooué is significantly higher than those in other provinces, estimated on average at 48%. An analysis of the number of non-voters and blank and spoiled ballots reveals an obvious anomaly in the final results of Haut-Ogooué.’‘

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That results from that single province is what allowed Ali Bongo to be re-elected by a short lead over his main rival, Jean Ping.

The EU had earlier stated in its preliminary report that the polls lacked transparency citing reasons such as the absence of voter lists posted outside the polling stations, failures in control of indelible ink, authentication of ballots and the use of sealed ballot boxes that lacked identification numbers.

The current statement disclosed that EOM observers were allowed to attend public announcements provincial results in 7 of the 9 provinces creating a situation where results from the two other provinces including Haut-Ogooue were consequently compromised.

Gabon descended into post election violence which has reportedly claimed about seven lives with hundreds sustaining injuries. The violence started after the announcement of Ali Bongo as winner of the August 27 presidential polls.

The opposition led by former African Union (AU) chairperson, Jean Ping, has rejected the results as declared by the electoral body and affirmed by the Interior minister. The country’s parliament was burnt down supposedly by Ping loyalists.

The campaign headquarters of Ping was ransacked by security operatives leading to the death of two people. Some 23 people who were held at the premises were released after calls by the United Nations to that effect.