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Gabon: Ali Bongo's candidature validated amidst controversy


Gabon’s National Electoral Commission, CENAP, has validated the candidature of president Ali Bongo Ondimba and 13 others vying for the presidency.

“Out of the 13 candidates, there was that of Ali Bongo. There was consensus on the other 13 candidates except that of Ali Bongo. The plenary assembly usually takes decisions based on consensus and when there is no consensus, the vote of the bureau decides. A vote took place in accordance with the law of the electoral commission. Therefore, only electoral commission decided, concerning Ali Bongo’s candidature 5 votes against 3 for the opposition.”

The decision has however been strongly criticised by opposition representatives at the electoral commission who are raising voices that Ali Bongo has changed his birth certificate.

In 2009 his birth certificate number was 65R2/A3 and in 2016 he has used the number 58/R2/A3 NNN We have noticed that his father's name has changed from Albert Bernard to El Hadj Omar.

The Gabonese constitution states that the country’s leader must be Gabonese by birth.

Ali Bongo’s critics however say he is a Nigerian who was adopted during the Biafran war in the late 1960s.

“In 2009 his birth certificate number was 65R2/A3 and in 2016 he has used the number 58/R2/A3 NNN. We have noticed that his father’s name has changed from Albert Bernard to El Hadj Omar,” Paul Marie Gondjout, an opposition member in the electoral commission said.

Gabonese opposition party, the National Union on Saturday, called on voters to use the election as way to free themselves from captivity.

Authorities have promised they will not tolerate any activities that would disturb public order.

“All those arrested will be tried and jailed. There will be nothing like half-measures. We will just respect the law,” Gabon government spokesman, Claude Bilie By Nzé said.

Political analysts are showing interest in these developments as they observe the lack of consensus as allies part ways in the battle to grab the presidential seat.

“There is more passion now than in 2009. This passion comes from division which is difficult to be managed with a financially capable oppostion compared to 2009,“political analyst, Dr Modeste Abagha said.

Challengers of Ali Bongo’s candidature have 72 hours to lodge their complaint with the country’s constitutional court.

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