The biggest threat to Gabon’s president


Credit: Afrobarometer

When he was sworn in for a second seven-year term last September, Gabon’s president, Ali Bongo Ondimba, renewed a call for all political actors “to sit together and find solutions” after an election season marred by protests, violence and mass arrests, Robbie Corey-Boulet writes for World Politics Review:

Six months later, the oil-producing Central African nation is still waiting for that dialogue to happen, and there has been little sign of progress. Earlier this month, Bongo proposed a round of talks that would begin March 28. Almost immediately, Jean Ping, the president’s main rival in last year’s vote, said he would not participate, dismissing the idea as a “masquerade.”

With the presidential election in the rearview mirror, the international community seems happy to stay above the fray, Corey-Boulet adds:

Last month, EU lawmakers issued a statement denouncing the vote as “non-transparent and highly doubtful,” but the statement made no mention of sanctions. Instead, the lawmakers called for investigations of last year’s election-related violence and reforms to electoral institutions. That’s about as much public attention as Gabon is likely to receive, says Kamissa Camara, senior program officer for West and Central Africa with the National Endowment for Democracy. “If the French had done anything then it could have triggered more engagement from the international community,” she says. “Since that didn’t happen, I’m not surprised that nobody’s reacting.”


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