Gabon: UNOCA commends the willingness of the opposition to work towards peaceful elections

François Ndong Obiang presented the Head of UNOCA with a memorandum summarizing the concerns of the opposition grouped within the coalition “Alternance 2023,” which he chairs. Photo UNOCA/Norbert N. Ouendji

8 Aug 2023

Gabon: UNOCA commends the willingness of the opposition to work towards peaceful elections

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for Central Africa and Head of UNOCA, Mr. Abdou Abarry, received on Tuesday, 8 August 2023, at their request, the members of the Gabonese opposition gathered within the coalition “Alternance 2023.” The following personalities were present: Ms. Paulette Missambo (Union nationale), Mr. Alexandre Barro Chambrier (Rassemblement pour la patrie et la modernité), Mr. François Ndong Obiang (Réagir), Mr. Mike Jocktane (independent), Mr. Raymond Ndong Sima (independent) and Mr. Thérence Gnembou Moutsona (Parti du réveil citoyen).

These political actors wanted to meet Mr. Abarry to discuss the general situation in Gabon, a few days before the presidential, legislative and local elections on 26 August. The Special Representative took note of their concerns as well as the engagement with competent institutions to advocate for a process that takes into account their points of view on political and electoral governance. These concerns are summarized in a memorandum submitted to the Head of UNOCA. The latter indicated that he would play his role of "transmission channel,” by bringing their complaints to the attention of the authorities.

Continuing to give priority to dialogue

In the meantime, the Head of UNOCA welcomed the willingness of the members of the "Alternance 2023" coalition to work towards peaceful elections. Likewise, he encouraged his interlocutors, among which were five presidential candidates, to continue to give priority to dialogue and legal channels to express their desiderata. Mr. Abarry also took this opportunity to reiterate his availability to offer the good offices of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in order to promote a climate of peace and security before, during and after the elections of 26 August, in accordance with his mandate. This does not include any support for the electoral process but is essentially oriented towards taking preventive measures to guarantee its peaceful nature.

In this context, Mr. Abarry recalled that everything will be done to ensure that the episodes of violence, which have marked elections in the past, are avoided at all costs. Accompanied by the UN Resident Coordinator in Gabon, Ms. Savina Ammassari, he stressed that the wish of the UN family is for the country to experience elections whose results will reflect the choice or choices freely expressed by the people, after a credible, transparent, participatory and sincere process. He had already conveyed this strong message during the opening ceremony of the capacity development seminar for Gabonese journalists on electoral and ethical issues organized from 3 to 5 August in Lambaréné by the High Authority for Communication (HAC), with the support from UNOCA and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). On that occasion, he had insisted on the central role of men and women working in the media in the promotion of a peaceful electoral process and the stability and sustainable development of Gabon, a "country which is and must remain a country where peace and social tranquility reign.” The meeting with members of the “Alternance 2023” coalition follows several others held in recent weeks by the Head of UNOCA with various stakeholders to reflect on ways and means to achieve this common goal.