The violence following Gabon’s disputed election polls, which returned President Ali Bongo for another 7 years as President, is yet to cease. A politician has joined the people in protest by resigning his position.
Gabon’s justice minister, Seraphim Moundounga, resigned his position yesterday clearly declaring that the move is in protest of the election results.
Gabon’s justice minister had reportedly warned President Ali Bongo prior to the elections that he would cancel the results of the election if they failed to “tally with reality”. Mr. Bongo had, of course, then been declared as the winner of the elections on Wednesday, albeit by a rather slim margin.
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Main opposition candidate Jean Ping had disputed the final result. The former African Union diplomat called for a recount, pointing out that Mr Bongo’s home province of Haut-Ogooue, had a turnout of 99.93% and 95% of votes were for the president.
The interior ministry pointed out that turnout in other provinces was between 45% and 71%. There have been violent protests since the results were announced, and Gabonese authorities say three people have died and 105 have been injured so far. Also, there have been more than 800 arrests and France says several people with dual French-Gabonese citizenship remain unaccounted for.
Gabon’s justice minister, Seraphim Moundounga, will be the first senior government minister to resign over the election results. Opposition candidate Jean Ping continues to call for a recount even as he encourages the citizens to maintain calm.
Former colonial power France, which has enjoyed a close economic and political relationship with Gabon since independence, has joined the European Union and the US in calling for full breakdowns of results to be published.
The French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has also said today that a recount should be held of the votes in Gabon’s disputed presidential election, AFP news agency reports. He told French radio station RTL that:
“There are arguments and some doubts. European observers in the country have already made criticisms on the basis of objectives. It would be wise to do a recount.”
A recount may be the only way to achieve calm in the country which also faced a violent election aftermath when President Ali Bongo took the reins from his father Omar Bongo.