Opposition leader and former foreign minister Jean Ping pushed again Thursday for the Gabonese people to reject the authority of President Ali Bongo Ondimba, calling him “an impostor with blood of the Gabonese on his hands.”
Ping insists he won the Aug. 27 presidential poll and accuses Bongo, the son of Omar Bongo, who ruled the oil-producing Central African nation for over four decades, of rigging the results.
Ping said he does not intend to take part in the political dialogue that Bongo called for shortly after he was declared the winner. Bongo was sworn in Sept. 27 as Gabon’s president for a second seven-year term.
“I will not associate myself to this vain attempt to legitimize the abuse of authority that the Gabonese people denounce,” Ping said. “I’m calling every Gabonese to an active resistance until it ends.”
Ping declared Oct. 6 as a national day of mourning for the victims of post-election violence, and announced a “national dialogue” under his own terms to “reconcile” the population.
Ping, a former ally of Bongo’s father who fell out with the current president a couple of years ago, has also called for the international community to step in.
Bongo’s re-election received a lukewarm acknowledgement from most of the international community, including the European Union, who has expressed doubts about the fairness of the poll.
Ping said he is asking for the international community to impose targeted sanctions “against the people responsible for this electoral coup.”
The opposition leader asked Amnesty International and the International Criminal Court, or ICC, to investigate alleged human rights violations and killings committed during the deadly unrest following the disputed elections.
Earlier Thursday, the ICC announced it is opening a preliminary probe into the unrest, but at the request of the Gabonese government which, in turn, accuses Ping’s supporters of incitement to genocide and crimes against humanity.
The ICC will determine whether there is enough evidence to launch a full investigation.