Cape Town – At least 150 Gabonese nationals marched from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology to Parliament in Cape Town on Friday, to demand the "immediate departure of Ali Bongo" as president back home.
Spokesperson for the group, Tulingui Nfoubou, told News24 that the demonstration was part of the movement initiated last month to denounce the outcome of the August 27 presidential elections.
"Today's demonstration was part of the overall movement initiated last month to denounce the massive fraud orchestrated by the ruling party, as well as the repression and violence against Gabonese citizens who have been peacefully requesting the strict respect of their choice and the immediate departure of Ali Bongo," Nfoubou said.
The march came, as the central African country braced for possible violence, as the Constitutional Court was set to rule on the disputed election that Bongo won by less than 2%.
Opposition leader Jean Ping accused Bongo of fraud, and he filed a complaint with the Constitutional Court early this month.
"Today's protest is significant as it is being held a few hours before the highly anticipated Constitutional Court ruling. We want to reaffirm the message that the ruling ought to be transparent and reflect the will of the Gabonese people, who massively voted for change," Nfoubou said.
Nfoubou, however, indicated that the country's Constitutional Court was "historically biased", adding that "many of us are pessimistic for good reasons".
"However, we are hopeful that the nine constitutional judges responsible for this ruling will come to terms with the historical significance of their decision and the implications that come with it. Any ruling that is not in line with the aspirations of the Gabonese people will have dire consequences for the country and we hope the judges have grasped the importance of the occasion," he said.
European Union observers said they found an anomaly in results from a Bongo stronghold, Haut-Ogooue province, where turnout was said to be 99.93%. Other provinces showed a 48% voter turnout on average, according to reports.
"The European Union and other observers agree with us that the numbers announced by the Electoral Commission do not add up and the discrepancies are palpable.
Therefore this cannot be overlooked by the court. Many of us have already died which makes it impossible for Ali Bongo to remain as our President especially considering that he did not win the election," said Nfoubou.