Following the re-election of incumbent President Ali Bongo, scores of people have invaded the streets protesting against the election’s result since Wednesday. Festus Iyorah looks at what is really causing the violence.
On the heels of the violence that have claimed two people and got more than 1000 people arrested by the police, scores of protesters, mainly opposition supporters, are seriously against the election’s result that brought in the incumbent president for the second time in a keenly contested election with opposition leader, Jean Ping.
The result of the election on Wednesday announced that Ali Bongo won with 48.9% to Jean Ping, 48.2%, a margin of 5,594 votes.
This is not the first time Gabonese will stage post-poll violence in Gabon. It first happened in 2009 when Ali Bongo succeeded his father, Omar Bongo after ruling Gabon for more than 40 years. This election led to violence after as opposition supporters accused France of helping to rig the election.
Ali Bongo Re-election: “Lacked Transparency”
After the announcement of the result, the opposition leader, Jean Ping rejected the result with his supporters saying the votes were “stolen” after official results showed a turnout of 99.93% in President Ali Bongo’s home region, Haut-Ogooue, with 95 percent of the votes in his favour.
An election observer and former BBC journalist, Elizabeth Blunt was quoted as saying “You never get a 98% or 99% turnout in an honest election. You just don’t.”
Corroborating Blunt’s view, the head of the European Union’s 73 strong E.U electoral monitoring team in Gabon, Mariya Gabriel told reporters that the election “lacked transparency” on Monday before the result of the election were announced.
Political analysts say that the election could be easily manipulated by the National Electoral Commission (CENAP), a body that is not entirely independent from government control.
Oumar Ba, a political analyst told Al Jazeera: "If Bongo wants to hold on to power he has the machine that will allow him to do so," stressing that the commission is not independent and the constitutional court saddled with resolving challenges to the result is made up of judges appointed by Bongo.
Nonetheless, Jean Ping, a former diplomat and top official in the African Union has called for recount of votes especially in the province of Haut-Ogooue where the president won 90% out of the 99% turnout.
Bongo Dynasty syndrome
After the announcement of results by the electoral commission, hundreds of opposition supporters have stormed the streets, especially the capital Libreville chanting “Ali must go”
Beyond the chants and alleged rigging of votes by Bongo, another factor is basically because of the continuity of tenure by the Bongo political dynasty.
Re-election of Ali Bongo means his family has ruled for half a century which has drawn the ire of thousands in Gabon. His father died in office in 2009 after ruling for more than 40 years. Few months after his death, Ali Bongo was elected for a tenure of 7 years.
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