Gabon: UN envoy continues meeting with political leaders, calls for use of legal channels to settle electoral disputes
The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Central Africa, Abdoulaye Bathily, had discussions with several African and Western ambassadors and met Raymond Ndong Sima, a former prime minister, according to a news release from the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA).
“The discussions focused on issues related to the preservation of peace and stability. Mr. Bathily has reiterated the need to use only legal means to settle disputes relating to presidential election of 27 August 27,” UNOCA noted in its news release.
"In his regular interaction with senior Gabonese authorities, he has also encouraged this approach, hoping that constructive dialogue could take place between the various parties to create new conditions of living together,” it added.
The election saw incumbent Ali Bongo Ondimba, and Jean Ping, presidential candidate of the Démocratie Nouvelle party, vie to lead the country. Clashes broke out between protesters and security forces after the 31 August release of official provisional results, which declared President Bongo the winner, reportedly by a margin of less than 6,000 votes. According to media reports, hundreds of people have been arrested and at least two people killed.
On Wednesday, the UN envoy, who also heads UNOCA, held talks with members of Mr. Ping’s team.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been closely following developments in Gabon and urged both leaders to help end any violence stemming from differences over the vote. He has tasked Mr. Bathily to work with both sides to defuse tensions.
Mr. Ban’s envoy was due to represent him in the High-Level Mission of the African Union, which was due to arrive in the Gabonese capital of Libreville tomorrow, but the Gabonese government announced the indefinite postponement of the mission, according to the UNOCA news release.