Banned from traveling for five years, Gabonese opponent Jean Ping received a passport which allows him to leave the country.
Since August 27, 2016, he has proclaimed himself the "elected president" of Gabon. It must be said that, a few days before the presidential election, Jean Ping had managed the feat of bend two tenors of the opposition, Guy Nzouba Ndama and Casimir Oyé, who had withdrawn from the campaign to support his candidacy. This alliance made observers say that alternation was possible. “The unity of these three candidates marks the end of the regime of the Gabonese Democratic Party” (PDG), assured Jean Yves Obiang, militant of the National Union.
But on August 27, 2016, Ali Bongo Ondimba's former brother-in-law was finally beaten. Officially, but not at the polls, assured Jean Ping, who then asked for a recount of the votes in the presence of international organizations. With such a tight score – 49,8% for Ali Bongo Ondimba, 48,23% for Jean Ping – the opponent was certain to have emerged victorious.
Resistance to Ali Bongo
Violence followed in part of Libreville. Jean Ping had asked Ali Bongo "to stop killing the Gabonese people" and "to accept the verdict of the polls". For its part, the power had, based on telephone tapping between Jean Ping and Mamadi Diané, an adviser to Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, accused the opponent of having put in place a plan to contest the results, even in the event of of defeat.
Since 2016, Jean Ping has been shouting loud and clear that he is the elected president of Gabon. If he has not really been audible in recent years, Ping has nevertheless remained connected to the international community, thanks to a CV that speaks for him: ex-minister, ex-president of the Commission of the African Union (AU ), ex-president of the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN), among others… Jean Ping retained part of his network and, in February 2019, was invited to New York for a meeting of former presidents of the General Assembly of the United Nations.
A new passport for Ping
Problem: the opponent let it be known that he was not allowed to move. In February 2018, his passport was allegedly confiscated by the Ministry of the Interior. And when it expired in September of the same year, Jean Ping could not renew his travel document. Deprived of travel, Jean Ping has therefore been forced to stay in Gabon for 5 years already.
A travel ban that originated in statements by Ping: in early 2017, Gabon's interior minister, Lambert Matha, announced that the opponent would be banned from leaving Gabon after calling for a "peaceful uprising" against Ali Bongo. A measure also taken against certain Gabonese intellectuals.
Requests for restitution from his lawyers have always been in vain. However, the travel ban issued by the Ministry of the Interior seemed temporary and the Gabonese government had warned that this measure would be lifted once the situation "returned to normal" in Gabon.
But as the presidential election approaches in Gabon, the power in place has taken a step in the direction of Jean Ping. The opponent is indeed now authorized to leave the country, since he has just received a Gabonese passport from the General Directorate of Documentation and Immigration (DGDI).