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On Gabon, ICP Asks UN of Attack on Ex-Justice Minister, UNaware, Protest

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 8 -- As in Gabon Jean Ping accuses Ali Bongo of stealing the election, in front of the UN on September 8 there was another anti Ali Bongo protest, YouTube here, following the one on September 6, Vine here, longer YouTube video here. Signs included 50 years is enough, a reference to Omar Bongo handing over the country to his son, Ali.

  More than one person noted that the UN has become that way: on August 26, the day after Inner City Press first asked about it, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon gave the top UN job in Kenya to his own son in law Siddharth Chatterjee, without recusing himself.

 Now Ban's spokesman won't say who was on the panel that supposedly picked Sid Chatterjee; Inner City Press is confined to minders when it seeks to cover the UN's second floor. This is censorship in the UN; in Gabon, the Internet is off (but Inner City Press' photos and Vine are getting hits, presumably from the diaspora or others concerned with democracy and human rights, lacking in Ban's UN itself).

On September 8, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarrica about AU mediator Idris Deby not arriving, and the attack on the ex-Justice Minister, of which Dujarric tellingly said he was UNaware. Beyond the Vine video here; UN transcript here:

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you about Gabon.  You'd said yesterday that the UN envoy will be participating in this A… I guess, AU mediation team, which seems like it's been delayed.  President [Idriss] Déby was described as tired returning from the G-20 and has not arrived.  So I wanted to know, does the UN plan to go forward in any way on its own?  And are they aware of the ex-justice minister, Serafin Mandunga, saying that once he resigned for failure of a recount that his house was attacked by five armed men and everything…
Spokesman:  I haven't seen those particular reports, but I think the Secretary-General and his envoys repeatedly condemned violence and called out anyone engaging in such violence.  We do, obviously, know and understand that the AU… excuse me… that the AU mission has been delayed, which included Mr. [Abdoulaye] Bathily.  We will continue to work closely with the AU to try to expedite the arrival on the mission.  I think it's a very important mission in order to try to de-escalate the situation and calm the post-election situation.  Meanwhile, Mr. Bathily is continuing to talk to various actors on both sides of the issue in Gabon, and he's also in touch with regional actors as well.

On September 7, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric if Ban favors a recount. Beyond the Vine video here From the UN transcript:

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you, there was a protest in front of the UN yesterday, of Gabonese very much calling for a recount, etc.  So I wanted to know, on the question of now… now Ali Bongo has said everything's up to the Constitutional Court.  Seems like there are definitely some international bodies saying that there should be a recount in the home province of Ali Bongo.  What does the Secretary-General believe?

Spokesman:  Just to update you on Mr.… on our position, what Mr. [Abdoulaye] Bathily is doing, first, that he will be part of the African Union mission that will be going to Libreville.  Obviously, he's already there, but he will be joining the mission, starting 9 September.  He is continuing to encourage the opposition to file an appeal with the Constitutional Court.  The deadline to submit is now set for 8 September at 4 p.m. local time.  In this regard, Mr. Bathily met with John Ping on 6 September to encourage him once again to use the existing legal means to channel his dispute.  Mr. Bathily will remain in direct contact with President Ali Bongo Ondimba as well.

   Minute later, Ban's spokesman when asked about Ban and nepotism by Inner City Press called it a “ridiculous accuations” and walked out. Beyond the Vine video here. Nepotism everywhere. In front of the UN on September 7, as in DC, a Gabonese encampment remained.

On Gabon on September 1 in front of the UN Security Council French Ambassador Francois Delattre told the press that his country “has pronounced itself” and wants the Security Council to condemn looting and call to guarantee the transparency of the election. Inner City Press put the audio on Soundcloud, here.

 But what does that mean? Is it a code word for more Bongo?

   The US, meanwhile, said “we call on the Gabonese Government to release results for each individual polling station.  This will help give the people of Gabon, as well as the international community, confidence the announced vote tallies are accurate.”

   UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, on a two week junket through Asia, soon through his spokesman echoed the US: “The UN supports the call of regional and international observers for a transparent verification of election results.”

   Given the long relationship of France with Omar Bongo and now his son Ali Bongo, who “holds the pen” for the Security Council on this? Watch this site.


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