Ali Bongo has been sworn in as Gabon’s president as he takes his oath of office despite criticism from the opposition and members of the international community following allegations of fraud.
Gabon President, Ali Bongo has been sworn in for a second 7-year term following a disputed election that sparked deadly violence and uncertainty for the Central African nation.
Bongo took his oath of office at a ceremony in the capital of Libreville on Tuesday. The start of the president’s second term comes after the country’s Constitutional Court validated the results of the August election that declared him the winner, according to a statement by the Gabonese government.
“I pledge to devote all my efforts to the good of the Gabonese people, to ensure their well-being,” Bongo said during the ceremony. “To respect and protect the Constitution and the rule of law, to conscientiously fulfill the duty of my office and to be fair to all.”
Bongo’s main challenger, opposition leader, Jean Ping, called the court’s decision “biased” for “pointedly ignoring the urgent calls for transparency launched by the national and international community.”
Earlier on Tuesday, the presidency had said the ceremony was going to be held at the presidential palace, without offering details of who had been invited or the time of the event.
The lack of details regarding the ceremony prompted a wave of criticism from the opposition, which has accused Bongo of “stealing” the vote.
“You don’t get sworn in unceremoniously in secret,” said Jean-Gaspard Ntoutoume Ayi, spokesman for Bongo’s main rival, Jean Ping.
Earlier this month Ping formally filed an appeal with the court that alleged election fraud. Ping lost the presidential bid by a mere 6,000 votes — less than 2 percentage points.
The protests that followed the initial results announcement turned deadly. Bongo’s re-election extends his family’s half-century rule over the oil-rich nation of 1.8 million.
Sources: CNN / Al Jazeerah