Gabon Opposition Calls for Resistance
04 September 2009
An opposition group in Gabon is calling for "resistance" following the announcement that Ali Ben Bongo will succeed his late father as president.
|Gabonese police patrol during unrest on streets of Libreville, 04 Sep 2009|
Allies of longtime opposition leader Pierre Mamboundou issued the appeal Friday, a day after electoral officials said Mr. Bongo had triumphed in Sunday's election.
Mamboundou and another candidate, Andrew Mba Obame, say the results are fraudulent.
In an interview with VOA's French to Africa service, a spokesman for Mamboundou, Louis Gaston Mayyila, said "resistance" could take the form of a strike or civil disobedience. He said people should not go on looting sprees and should not attack French nationals.
He also said Mamboundou's party is thinking of forming a government to challenge Mr. Bongo.
Looting and sporadic clashes broke out in the capital, Libreville and the coastal city of Port Gentil Thursday and early Friday. Residents tell VOA that one person was killed.
In Port Gentil, demonstrators attacked the French consulate. French officials have denied allegations that they helped rig the election in favor of Mr. Bongo.
Both cities were mostly calm Friday as security forces patrolled the streets.
France, which is Gabon's former colonial ruler, has put its troops on alert and made plans to evacuate French nationals if necessary.
Election officials announced Thursday that Mr. Bongo won the election with 42 percent of the vote. They said Mamboundou and former Interior Minister Obame each won just over 25 percent of the vote.
Mamboundou supporters say their candidate was slightly injured during Thursday's protests and has gone into hiding due to fears for his safety.
In an interview Thursday with VOA French to Africa service, President-designate Bongo denied the allegations of fraud. He promised to do more to help fight poverty in Gabon and said he is ready to cooperate with all opposition leaders, including Mamboundou.
Mr. Bongo's father, Omar Bongo, ruled Gabon for more than 40 years before his death in June at the age of 73. Critics accused him of using the nation's oil wealth to finance a lavish lifestyle for himself, family members and allies while the majority of Gabon's people lived in poverty.
The younger Bongo had been a Cabinet minister in his father's government since 1989.