- Title: Uneasy calm, tight security ahead of Gabon president swearing-in
- Date: 27th September 2016
- Summary: LIBREVILLE, GABON (SEPTEMBER 27, 2016) (REUTERS) VEHICLES DRIVING ALONG MAIN ROAD LEADING TO PRESIDENTIAL PALACE VARIOUS OF MAN CRACKING NUTS OPEN ON THE BEACH VEHICLES TRAVELLING ALONG ROAD GABON FLAGS HANGING ABOVE ROAD SOLDIER WALKING DOWN STREET GABON FLAG SOLDIER WALKING DOWN STREET VARIOUS OF PEOPLE IN RUNDOWN AREA VARIOUS OF PEOPLE EATING BREAKFAST IN CAFE AND WATCHING TELEVISION WAITING FOR PRESIDENT SWEARING IN CEREMONY (SOUNDBITE) (French) UNEMPLOYED MAN, AURIOL ONDGIBI, SAYING: "All they have done, it's for themselves. All we are doing is we are waiting for the country to calm down. We all have families, brothers and children and we just want them to go to school and that they (the politicians) leave the country alone." MAN PREPARING BREAKFAST BEHIND BAR (SOUNDBITE) (French) UNEMPLOYED MAN, AURIOL ONDGIBI, SAYING: "If nothing's changed in 40 years then it's not going to change in the next seven." ONDGIBI EATING BREAKFAST NADEGE EYANG, 24-YEAR-OLD STUDENT, GETTING HER HAIR BRAIDED BY VIVIENNE VARIOUS OF VIVIENNE BRAIDING EYANG'S HAIR (SOUNDBITE) (French) STUDENT, NADEGE EYANG, SAYING: "Whatever. What matters is we have peace. The president has his life and we have ours. They say the president did this and that but it's not the president who feeds us. He's just the president. Everybody is scared, everybody is scared." VIVIENNE BRAIDING HAIR (SOUNDBITE) (French) STUDENT, NADEGE EYANG, SAYING: "That he be opposition leader. That is my personal opinion. The leader means nothing. Authority comes from the top. If they say he won't be president, then he won't be president. He is already 72 years old. Which year is he going to be president? He should give way to the young ones. We are tired of old age. They have too many old ideas. We want to move forward. (VIVIENNE SAYING: "He should just accept defeat") He should just accept defeat." BACK OF VIVIENNE BRAIDING HAIR
- Embargoed: 12th October 2016 12:14
- Keywords: Gabon election Ali Bongo Jean Ping Libreville poll voting inauguration
- Location: LIBREVILLE, GABON
- City: LIBREVILLE, GABON
- Country: Gabon
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA00151CEIBR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:The streets of Libreville were lined with flags on Tuesday (September 27) ahead of the swearing-in ceremony for Ali Bongo Ondimba, winner of a bitterly contested presidential election.
There was an air of calm despite the heavy security that has been deployed throughout the Gabon capital since violence broke out half an hour after the election results were announced and which led to a shutdown of the city for several days.
As Librevillois waited for the delayed ceremony, unemployed Auriol Ondgibi was eating a cheap breakfast in a cafe in the Nkembo neighbourhood of the city. He does not believe Ali Bongo received so many votes despite the Constitutional Court late on Friday (September 23) throwing out a challenge against the election results by rival Jean Ping. But he has resigned himself to Bongo presiding over Gabon for the next seven years and says he just wants things to go back to normal.
"All they have done, it's for themselves. All we are doing is we are waiting for the country to calm down. We all have families, brothers and children and we just want them to go to school and that they (the politicians) leave the country alone."
The swearing-in of Ali Bongo will seal his family's 50-year dynastic rule over the small, oil-producing central African country.
"If nothing's changed in 40 years then it's not going to change in the next seven," Ondgibi said.
For 24-year-old student Nadege Eyang, the swearing-in will draw a line under the election. But she does hope that after this, new blood will be injected into her country's politics, pointing out that Jean Ping is unlikely to run again.
"What matters is we have peace. The president has his life and we have ours. They say the president did this and that but it's not the president who feeds us. He's just the president. Everybody is scared, everybody is scared," she said.
Ping swiftly rejected Friday's ruling as biased, and many Gabonese feared a return to the violence that killed at least six people - Ping's supporters say it was more than 50 - when the result was first announced at the start of the month.
But in a nation that usually manages to avoid the major bloodshed that afflicts other countries in the region when power is contested, Bongo said he was confident of a peaceful resolution.
Bongo has pledged to address some of the issues that have fuelled anger in the country of 1.8 million, like youth unemployment and over-reliance on dwindling oil revenues.
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