Gabon Warns Opposition Chief Ping as Court Due to Rule on Vote

(Bloomberg) -- Gabon’s government said it will hold main opposition leader Jean Ping responsible if violence erupts when the Constitutional Court delivers a ruling on the Aug. 27 elections.

The court on Friday will hear arguments from lawyers for Ping and President Ali Bongo. While the opposition says the vote was rigged and demands a recount, the Gabonese ambassador to the U.S. said this week that all the ballots have been destroyed, leaving only the tally sheets up for review.

“Gabon is not a lawless country and more than ever before it is time to enforce and respect the law,” government spokesman Alain Claude Bilie-By-Nze said by phone from the capital, Libreville. “If Mr Ping stirs up trouble, he and the troublemakers will all be arrested for causing instability and violence.”

At least six people died in protests following the announcement of the results by the electoral commission earlier this month. The commission said turnout in Bongo’s home province was more than 99 percent, compared to an average voter turnout of 60 percent in the nation’s eight other provinces.