It’s another seven years of President Ali Bongo’s reign in Gabon, after the country’s constitutional court upheld his controversial re-election on Friday, reports the Guardian.
Giving the verdict, the court said President Bongo was the rightful winner of the disputed August election, adding that it had recounted all the votes from the election, although it could not do a total recount since all ballots were destroyed immediately after the results were announced.
The streets of Libreville, Gabon’s capital, remained relatively quiet throughout the weekend, despite fears that the court’s announcement could trigger violence; some people are reported to have stockpiled food in preparation for violence.
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Gabon’s opposition leader Jean Ping rejected the ruling, describing it as “unjust.” Ping also called on his supporters to remain vigilant and mobilized and insisted that the will of the people must be respected.
In order to usher in peace, President Bongo promised to include opposition leaders in his cabinet. “I look forward to inviting members of all political parties to join our efforts and come with us to the cabinet. We don’t need international mediation. Among Gabonese, we know how to talk to each other,” President Bongo told Reuters in an interview Saturday.
Disputed August Election
Violence broke out in Libreville, Gabon, immediately after President Bongo was declared the winner of the August 27th elections.
Dozens of people are reported to have died in the post-election violence, which lasted for two days.
The country’s electoral commission said President Bongo had won the election with only 1.57 percent of the total vote, prompting Ping to say the poll had been rigged.
Angry protesters took to the streets of Libreville, where they burned several government installations including the parliament building, and Ping claimed that at least 50 protesters were killed by security agents.
The government, however, maintains only three people died in the violence.
President Bongo took over power in 2009, following the death of his father, Omar Bongo, who had ruled Gabon since 1967.