(Vatican Radio) Gabon's president, Ali Bongo, came under international scrutiny on Tuesday as a European Union mission questioned the validity of his narrow re-election victory, France recommended a recount, and the African Union said it will send mediators to the country.
Meanwhile, the Bishops of Gabon called for the intervention of an international mediator to bring the country out of a political crisis following the disputed presidential elections of 27 August.
Listen to Christopher Wells’ report:
In a message addressed to the nation, the Bishops said that “in the face of opposing positions, we are inspired to African wisdom, according to which when two brothers fight, it is essential to involve a third party as a mediator”. The letter, sent to the Agenzia Fides news service, was signed by Archbishop Basile Mve Engone of Libreville.
After recalling that Gabon has exercised this role in several African crises, Archbishop Mve Engone said: “our Country has to rely on the mediation of organizations and international institutions to preserve unity, justice and peace”.
The Archbishop in particular called on the UN, the African Union and the European Union, which “had committed themselves to fund the electoral process,” to “fully carry out their role in helping Gabon to emerge from the crisis”.
In the riots that followed the announcement of Bongo's victory, there have been several deaths and numerous injuries, as well as damage to buildings and property.
In expressing the Bishops’ pain over the loss of lives, Archbishop Mve Engone called on “all the living forces of the nation, the majority and the opposition, to find the wisdom to immediately exit from the crisis”.