Gabon prelate calls for mediation in electoral crisis

The leading Catholic prelate in the West African nation of Gabon has issued a call for an international mediator to solve the political crisis that has arisen since recent presidential elections. 

After the incumbent Ali Bongo claimed victory by a narrow margin of just 6,000 votes in the August 27 poll, violence erupted amid claims of vote rigging in some districts, setting in train a challenge to the result.

In a message to the Fides news agency amid the crisis, Archbishop Basile Mve Engone of Libreville stated that “our Country has to rely on the mediation of organisations and international institutions to preserve unity, justice and peace”. 

The prelate went on to reference the United Nations, the African Union and the European Union, which, he said, “had committed themselves to fund the electoral process [and to] fully carry out their role in helping Gabon to emerge from the crisis”.

In the latest move on the elections, opposition figure Jean Ping has lodged an official challenge to the result with the courts in Libreville.