As Friday evening fell on the uneasy streets of Libreville, there was still no word of any court decision in Gabon’s contested presidential election. Gabon’s Constitutional Court was expected to rule as early as Friday.
The ruling follows the success of opposition candidate Jean Ping in challenging the results of the August 27 election, which gave the victory to incumbent Ali Bongo despite voting irregularities that drew international attention from European Union, United States, and African Union leaders.
The election anomalies included nearly 100 percent turnout in Bongo’s home province of Haut-Ogooué – a result wildly inconsistent with other Gabon voting districts – with more than 95 percent of those votes cast for Bongo. The totals led to a defeat for Ping of less than 6,000 votes.
Michael Moussa-Adamo, Gabon ambassador to the United States, confirmed Bongo’s claim this week that all of the August 27 ballots had been burned, complicating any official recount that Bongo had agreed to following the appeals from the international community.
Meanwhile, tense Gabonese stocked up on food and tapped ATM stations for cash as many residents stayed indoors while awaiting the recount results, al Jazeera reports. That’s amid renewed fears of the post-election violence that engulfed Libreville and led to a complete shutdown of Internet access. The access remained shut down 12 hours a day, with the Gabonese cut off outside of business hours in a measure not seen since the Arab Spring in 2011.
Image: President of Gabon