Gabon braced for post-election violence


Gabon braced for possible violence Tuesday as the country awaited official results of a bitterly disputed presidential election, with both frontrunners claiming victory in a vote condemned by EU observers as lacking transparency, AFP reports:

The interior minister is due to announce later Tuesday whether incumbent Ali Bongo has won a new term or been ousted by challenger Jean Ping. Both sides have accused each other of electoral fraud and EU observers said Saturday’s vote in the oil-rich Central African country was “managed in a way that lacked transparency“.

Ping says he declared himself the winner early to prevent Bongo manipulating the results, Christina Okello reports:

Two self-proclaimed presidents claiming one throne may be new for the oil-producing nation but not for the continent.

“Côte d’Ivoire was plunged into post-electoral crisis in 2010, when Alassane Outtara and Laurent Gbagbo both declared themselves winner,” explains Kamissa Camara, a program manager at the National Endowment for Democracy, the Washington-based democracy assistance group.

“If both candidates [in Gabon] are already declaring themselves winners, it means that their respective supporters are already getting ready to celebrate a victory and, since there is only one presidential chair, I don’t see how this could not go down into violence.”

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