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Gabonese react to President Ali Bongo's decision to seek third term

Gabon's President Ali Bongo Ondimba looks on as he attends a bilateral meeting with French President at Presidential Palace in Libreville, on March 1, 2023.   -  
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In Gabon's capital Libreville, locals reacted to the news that President Ali Bongo will seek a third term in elections on August 26.

"Ali Ben is going to win because he has created equal opportunities, he has found work for the Gabonese and he has reduced unemployment in Gabon," said Oliver Mbango, a student. 

For some, Bongo will win in August's presidential elections because of his record on unemployment and the country's economic development. 

Bongo has been in power for 14 years since taking over from his father, Omar Bongo Ondimba, in 2009. His father had ruled for 41 years. 

His narrow re-election in 2016 against rival Jean Ping sparked violence in the capital, when sections of the opposition claimed the results were fixed. 

For Franck Ogandaga, an unemployed 31 year-old, Bongo's re-election is not guaranteed. 

"I don't think he has a chance of winning, unless he uses force again, like in 2016... If it's at the ballot box, the people of Gabon won't vote for him," says Ogandaga. 

Gabon is one of Africa's richest countries in terms of capita GDP. Its wealth is due in large part to its oil revenues and its relatively small population of 2.3 million people.

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