By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, September 7 -- As in Gabon Jean Ping accuses Ali Bongo of stealing the election, in front of the UN on September 6 there was an anti Ali Bongo protest, 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 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.