Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba has reiterated that he is belongs to the ‘peaceful’ camp in the country’s post-election crisis. He rather accuses his main opponent, Jean Ping, of having instigated the current tense situation.
Bongo denied that he had sanctioned any attacks in the protests that broke out after the announcement of his reelection after the August 27 polls. The opposition said they rejected the results which in their view was rigged.
“I have not exercised and triggered the violence,” he told the AFP on Friday. He added that the deadly riots and mass looting were due to a climate that the opponent Jean Ping had created after a “a violent campaign of lies and vilification”.
The lead up to the elections was marked by legal battles challenging the eligibility of Ali Bongo, but the Constitutional Court dismissed the case allowing Bongo to run along with a 10 other candidates.
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His main opponent was the former Africa Union Commission (AUC) chairperson, Jean Ping. Ping served in different top capacities in the government of Bongo’s father Omar Bongo. Omar Bongo died in 2009 and was succeeded by his son Ali Bongo.
A call for recount of votes was the crust of Ping’s petition to the Constitutional Court on the last day of post-election petition filing (Thursday). The European Union observer team backs Ping’s call stating that there was an obvious anomaly in vote count in Haut Ogooue, which is a stronghold of Bongo.
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‘‘The 99.93% turnout in Haut-Ogooue 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-Ogooue.’‘
The figures in Haut-Ogooue allowed President Ali Bongo’s victory with 49.80% of all nine provinces, against 48.23% for Jean Ping. Bongo thus won the polls with about 5,594 votes.
Gabon’s post election violence has reportedly claimed about seven lives with hundreds sustaining injuries. The violence started after the announcement of Ali Bongo as winner of the presidential polls.