Gabon's Ping urges security forces to defect

accreditation
Jean Ping. (File: AFP)
Jean Ping. (File: AFP)

Libreville - Gabon's opposition leader Jean Ping on Friday called on the police and army to join in his fight against the contested re-election of President Ali Bongo.

Ping has repeatedly declared himself the winner of the August election, but Gabon's constitutional court has upheld Bongo's victory.

"I join you in telling them (security forces): Join us in liberating Gabon", he told a crowd of supporters in Libreville, who refer to him as president-elect.

He promised he would soon be sworn into office, and spoke a line from the presidential oath: "I swear to dedicate all my strength to the good of the Gabonese people..."

Bongo has already been sworn in, taking his oath in September with a call for unity after the disputed election win that sparked deadly unrest and revealed deep divisions in the oil-rich country.

His re-election, which was validated by the constitutional court, is contested by the opposition and the European Union.

Direct attacks 

In its final tally, the court ruled Bongo had won 50.66%  of the vote and Ping 47.24%, giving Bongo a paper thin lead to 11 000 votes over his opponent.

"I will serve only one term and none of my children will be made ministers in the government under my authority. None of my descendants... will succeed me directly as president of the republic," Ping said on Friday.

His comments were a direct attack on Ali Bongo who took over from his father Omar Bongo, who ruled for 41 years until his death in 2009.

Ping said he wanted to "use all appropriate means to get back the victory stolen from us".

"There are limits. If he crosses them, he will be arrested," government spokesman Alain-Claude Bilie-By-Nze said, referring to Ping.

Gabon has large oil, mineral and tropical timber resources, and its per-capita national income is four times greater than that of most sub-Saharan nations.

But about a third of its population of 1.8 million still live below the poverty line - the result, say specialists, of inequality, poor governance and corruption.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
When and why would you have your or your partner's sperm count checked?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
That's an unnecessary procedure
17% - 963 votes
As soon as we decide to start a family
7% - 427 votes
Only if we're struggling to conceive
76% - 4427 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
14.35
-0.0%
Rand - Pound
19.81
-0.0%
Rand - Euro
17.08
-0.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
10.76
-0.0%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-0.0%
Gold
1,764.62
0.0%
Silver
25.81
0.0%
Palladium
2,467.49
0.0%
Platinum
1,038.50
0.0%
Brent Crude
73.51
+0.6%
Top 40
59,504
-1.5%
All Share
65,635
-1.4%
Resource 10
60,958
-1.7%
Industrial 25
87,956
-1.3%
Financial 15
12,995
-2.0%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo