Gabon names new cabinet after disputed elections

Despite President Ali Bongo’s promises to give more cabinet seats to the opposition, they only received one seat in the Gabonese government.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba stands in front of the Gabonese flag during the swearing-in ceremony in Libreville, the capital city of Gabon on September 27, 2016.

Gabon’s Prime Minister Emmanuel Issozet Ngondet named a new cabinet on Sunday after the disputed elections in August triggered deadly unrest.

The presidential elections gave a second seven-year term to President Ali Bongo, extending the nearly 50-year rule of the Bongo family in the oil-producing central African country.

Only one opposition leader, Bruno Ben Moubamba, made it to the 40-member cabinet and was appointed deputy prime minister and minister for urbanisation and social habitats.

A statement issued by the government said the defence ministry will now fall under the control of the presidency.

Violence broke out in August after Bongo was re-elected with just 6,000 more votes. Angry opposition supporters set fire to the parliament buildings and clashed with police over the results.

The opposition claimed 50 people were killed in the post-election violence, while the government placed the death toll at three.

Helicopters are pictured patrolling the sky as smoke and flames are seen billowing from the National Assembly building in Libreville, Gabon, after it was set ablaze on August 31, 2016.

Bongo’s main rival, 73-year-old Jean Ping sued him over allegations of fraud but a court found that there were no irregularities in the poll.

The president first came to power in 2009 just after the death of his father, Omar Bongo, who ruled the country for 41 years. Bongo’s arch rival, Ping, was a former foreign minister and the chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC). 

Ping was a close ally of the former president, Omar Bongo, and he used to be on friendly terms with the current president.

TRTWorld and agencies