At Gaboatwhen the oppositionn presents itself united against Ali Bongo, during the presidential election, the power in place puts a spoke in the wheels of the Alternance 2023 platform.
It's a real war of attrition that started between the Gabonese authorities and the Gabonese opposition. They were, a few days ago, 19 candidates. They are now only 14. A few days before the Gabonese presidential election, which will take place on August 26, several candidates have decided to unite behind Albert Ondo Ossa. The Alternance 2023 platform succeeded in obtaining the withdrawals of strong opposition figures, such as Alexandre Barro Chambrier and Paulette Missambo, both initially invested by their respective parties to be candidates, to present a "consensual candidate" against Ali Bongo.
After 2016, a similar scenario in 2023?
What to fear, for the Gabonese president, in a scenario à la Jean Ping in 2016? At the time, Ping secured the withdrawals of Guy Nzouba Ndama, Léon-Paul Ngoulakia, Roland Désiré Aba'a and Casimir Pyé Mba, and titillated Ali Bongo. Official results then showed Bongo beating Ping by 5 votes, while the turnout in Haut-Ogooué — nearly 000% — shocked voters and showed how questionable the results were. Seven years later, the Bongo clan fears a similar situation. And has already launched hostilities against the candidate of Alternance 100.
Absence of polling stations abroad
For several days, the media loyal to power have been trying to show a divided opposition, where it has managed to unite. But the Bongo clan's panic led to more than just a communications battle. The Gabonese Election Center (CGE) has indeed published the list of polling stations. And, surprise, in certain countries - as in Turkey and in Ivory Coast -, the Gabonese of the foreigner, generally in majority hostile to the power in place, will be deprived of vote. Enough to prevent Albert Ondo Ossa from garnering too many votes: in 2016, Jean Ping won more than 58% of the votes of Gabonese abroad, against 37% for Ali Bongo.
The electoral law modified in extremis
If the Gabonese presidency had organised, several months ago, a national dialogue supposed to make it possible to review the texts, she has also taken advantage of these last few weeks to put the odds on her side. By modifying in particular the electoral law and by imposing two observers from the ruling party, two opposition candidates and two independents on election night in the polling stations, against only one before. Enough to favor the big machine that is the Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) and penalize the opposition, which will therefore have to give up on the surveillance of several polling stations and, thus, will not be able to check all the minutes.
Towards post-election unrest?
And by August 26, the Bongo clan seems determined to put other spokes in the wheels of the opposition. A delegation from the A23 platform, led by the consensus candidate Albert Ondo Ossa, was thus refused to fly from the town of Ngounié to Lambaréné, forcing it to take the road. Another disturbing information: the appointment, on August 16, 2023, of a director of the president's close security. Is the power planning, once again, a strong response to a possible challenge to questionable results, as was the case in 2016?