The Gabon government has accused President Ali Bongo’s challenger, Jean Ping, of trying to destabilise the country, and warned French ruling party officials against “interference” in its affairs.
With both sides trading accusations after a bitter election campaign, there are concerns that the results would trigger unrest when finally announced. People stockpiled food, police manned major crossroads and soldiers deployed at petrol stations and banks.
Ping, a former foreign minister, African Union Commission chairman and long-time political insider, is the main challenger to Bongo, whose family has ruled the oil-producing central African nation for half a century.
In a statement late on Tuesday, he said that the election results his team had collated from almost all of the country’s regions showed he had defeated Bongo. [nL8N1BB5SD]
“Jean Ping’s victory is no longer in doubt,” the statement signed by him said, adding he had received 59.32 percent support in the eight out of the nine provinces for which they had data, with Bongo getting just 37.97 percent.
Government spokesman Alain-Claude Nze said in a news conference in the day that “Jean Ping seems to be the instigator of a destabilisation that threatens the democratic process.”
Bongo’s supporters say he is on track to win. The president was first elected in 2009 after the death of his father, Omar Bongo, who ran Gabon for 42 years.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern about the issuance of premature results and called on Ping and Bongo to urge their supporters to show restraint.
Bongo’s allies are also furious about a statement from France’s ruling Socialist Party declaring that early results showed Ping to be the winner.