Jean Ping, the main challenger of Gabonese president Ali Bongo in last year presidential polls, has been banned from leaving the central African nation in response to what the authorities call “public order disorder”.
“This measure follows inflammatory comments by Jean Ping on August 18 when he called for public disorder, rebellion and insurrection,” interior ministry spokesman Jean-Eric Nziengui Mangala said.
This decision is a “provisional administrative measure” against “the leaders of the political parties and personalities in the Coalition for the New Republic (CNR) around Jean Ping,” the spokesman said.
Former Prime Minister Casimir Oye and Mba Albert Ondo Ossa, a former presidential candidate and economics professor, have also been prevented from leaving Gabon last weekend.
Jean Ping, 74, ex-head of the African Union commission, was narrowly defeated by incumbent Ali Bongo in presidential elections last August.
Gabon’s Constitutional Court ruled that Bongo won 50.66 percent of the vote and Ping 47.24 percent. The opposition leader rejected the results and accused the administration of electoral fraud and of using force to suppress the population after the release of the results.
Ali Bongo’s re-election has extended a family dynasty in power since the 1960s. He was elected in 2009 after the death of his father, longtime ruler Omar Bongo.