Ali Bongo to be sworn in as president of Gabon

2016-09-27 12:35
Ali Bongo. (File: AFP)

Ali Bongo. (File: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Libreville - Ali Bongo is set to be sworn in as Gabon's president for a second seven-year term, his office has announced, three days after his election victory was controversially validated by the Constitutional Court following allegations of fraud.
The ceremony on Tuesday will be held at the presidential palace in the capital Libreville, the presidency said, without offering details of who had been invited or the time of the event. 

The lack of details regarding the ceremony prompted a wave of criticism from the opposition, which has accused Bongo of "stealing" the vote.

"You don't get sworn in unceremoniously in secret," said Jean-Gaspard Ntoutoume Ayi, spokesperson for Bongo's main rival Jean Ping. 

Bongo's victory in the August 27 vote was confirmed on Saturday by the country's top court, which dismissed opposition claims of voter fraud. Violence initially erupted on August 31 after Bongo, 57, was first declared the winner. Demonstrators set the parliament ablaze and clashed with police, who arrested more than 1 000 people. 

'Miscarriage of justice'    

Opposition figures say more than 50 people were killed, but authorities disputed that claim, saying that just a handful of people had died in the violence.

Ping, 73, who came in second in the vote, rejected the court's ruling as a miscarriage of justice and declared himself "president elect". A career diplomat and a former top official at the African Union, he had filed a legal challenge after Bongo was declared the winner by a slender margin of fewer than 6 000 votes.

Ping had asked for a recount in Haut-Ogooue province, where 95% of voters in the Bongo family stronghold were reported to have cast their ballots for the president on a turnout of more than 99%.

The Constitutional Court upheld Bongo's victory and put the winning margin higher at around 11 000 votes.

The African Union said it had "taken note" of the court's verdict, as did the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The European Union, which sent a monitoring mission to Gabon during the election, said in a statement on Saturday that its observers had been granted "very limited access" to the court review process, and that the Gabonese people had a legitimate right to question the integrity of the electoral process.    

Responding to the criticism, Bongo told Al Jazeera he had little interest in the opinions of the international community.

"The international community does not cast a vote here, Gabonese people do. So, I am accountable to them," Bongo said.

Long grip on power 

In its final tally, the court ruled Bongo had won 50.66% of the vote (172 990 votes) and Ping 47.24%  (161 287 votes).  

Gabon: Libreville reels as clashes erupt over vote

Bongo's family has exercised a long grip on power in the oil- and mineral-rich country of 1.8 million people. 

Bongo took over from his father, Omar, who ruled Gabon for 41 years until his death in 2009.

Cameroon's President Paul Biya, who is 83 and has held office since 1982, wrote to Bongo on Monday voicing his "warm congratulations" and wishing him "success in the accomplishment of (his) new mandate." 
Senegal's President Macky Sall also congratulated Bongo, as did Alassane Ouattara, president of Cote d'Ivoire. 

"In the delicate period which Gabon is going through, I want to express to you my full encouragement and hope passionately that dialogue and calm will predominate between all the parties," Ouattara wrote in a statement.

Read more on:    alassane ouattara  |  paul biya  |  ali bongo  |  jean ping  |  macky sall  |  ban ki-moon  |  gabon  |  central africa  |  gabon 2016 election

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.