“The residence permit of the Africa 24 team to cover Gabon’s presidential election expired on Sept. 1,” Ndongou told reporters in the capital, Libreville, yesterday. “Foreign journalists cannot stay permanently in Gabon.” Only state-owned media are allowed to “formally announce” the election results supplied by the Interior Ministry, he said.
Africa 24 said yesterday that its journalists sent to Gabon to cover the Aug. 30 election had received an order from the department instructing them to leave the country “within hours.” No reason was given, it said. On Aug. 31, the channel broadcast a projection of the election outcome based on results supplied by the leading presidential candidates. The final results of the election haven’t been officially announced yet.
On Aug. 31, Ali-Ben Bongo Ondimba, whose father ruled Gabon for more than four decades, declared victory in the central African country’s presidential elections. Earlier, Africa 24 reported that Pierre Mamboundou, head of the opposition Union of Gabonese People, and former Interior Minister Andre Mba Obame had also claimed victory in the election.
Gabon, a central African nation of 1.5 million people, has had only two elected presidents since it gained independence from France in 1960. Bongo’s father came to office following the death of the country’s first president, Leon M’Ba, in 1967. Omar Bongo was the world’s longest-serving national leader at the time of his death at the age of 73 in June.
Gabon on Aug. 31 also cut the signals of the private television channel owned by Obame and the Top Bedje radio station, owned by Serephin Ndaot, an ally of Mamboundou.
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