Gabon president insists Afcon on course despite violence

Posted September 29, 2016

LIBREVILLE, Gabon (AP) - Gabon's President Ali Bongo Ondimba has been sworn in for a second seven-year term keeping his family's dynasty in place for decades after winning re-election by a slim margin in a disputed vote.

Bongo takes oath of office despite criticism from the opposition and members of the global community.

Ali Bongo was sworn back in as Gabon's president Tuesday, calling for unity after a disputed election win that sparked deadly unrest and revealed deep divisions in the oil-rich country.

Gabon's opposition claimed Bongo's victory on August 27 was obtained through vote fraud.

Taking place against a backdrop of tension, the swearing-in ceremony is set to take place at the seafront presidential palace in Libreville, according to the Presidency, which did not confirm the time of the event.

Violence broke out in Libreville, Gabon, immediately after President Bongo was declared the victor of the August 27th elections. On that occasion, following an outbreak of violent protests, the Constitutional Court conducted a recount that upheld Bongo's victory.

But Bongo on Tuesday said the "democratic process has been recognised by everybody, including foreign observers".

But after re-examining the results, the court canceled the results from 21 stations due to irregularities, and gave Bongo a higher share of the vote: from 49.85 percent of the vote to 50.66 percent.

Already the opposition has said that as many as 100 people have been killed while some 1,200 have been detained by authorities as part of a government crackdown on dissent.

Global observers had raised doubts about results in one Bongo stronghold where he won 95 percent of the vote and turnout was reported to be 99.9 percent.

Cameroon's President Paul Biya, who is 83 and has held office since 1982, wrote to Bongo 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.