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Gabon opposition slams President's call for talks

30 September 2016, 20:34

Libreville - Gabon opposition leader Jean Ping has criticised President Ali Bongo calls for talks amidst political unrest that has gripped the country, labeling the calls for talks as absurd, BBC reports.

"How can it be that the one who did not win the election should call the winner to a dialogue with him? That's the world upside down.

"Plus, could you ask someone to a dialogue under the threat of a revolver, with Mirage planes flying low and terrorising civilians, with combat helicopters buzzing over the city, with continuing arbitrary arrests, detentions and killings?

"Can you ask anybody to a dialogue in that way? You obviously see that's a farce," Ping said.

According to reports, Ping called on the Gabonese people to reject Ali Bongo as their leader saying that he had "the blood of the Gabonese people on his hands."

"I will not associate myself to this vain attempt to legitimize the abuse of authority that the Gabonese people denounce, "I'm calling every Gabonese to an active resistance until it ends," Ping said.

News24 reported that Bongo appointed his former minister of foreign affairs, Franck Emmanuel Issoze Ngondent as Prime Minister to lead a new unity government.

Ngondent was appointed three days after President Bongo took the oath of office to serve his second term as elected leader of the country after "controversially" winning the presidential elections.

The new prime minister was tasked with delivering on the president's electoral manifesto, with him also expected to address the country's many social issues such as the high youth unemployment rate and poor infrastructure.

EU monitors said that Gabon's top court had failed to rectify vote-counting "anomalies" in fiercely-disputed elections in which President Ali Bongo extended his family's rule in the oil-rich nation into a fifth decade.

The European Union's electoral observer mission said it "regretted" that Gabon's Constitutional Court, which on Saturday ruled against opposition demands for a recount, "had been unable to satisfactorily rectify anomalies observed during the count".

Opposition leader Jean Ping had filed a legal challenge after Bongo was declared the winner by a mere 6 000 votes in the August 27 election.

- News 24


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