On August 26, Gabon’s Ali Bongo shall be standing for a 3rd time period in workplace as president of the Central African nation.
Bongo has been in workplace since his father died in 2009.
Six of the nation’s largest opposition events have coalesced into the coalition motion Alternance 2023 to problem the incumbent. The platform’s consensus candidate is Albert Ondo Ossa, a 69-year-old economics professor and cupboard minister underneath the older Bongo.
Ossa, who additionally ran within the 2009 presidential election, spoke to Al Jazeera about his possibilities this Saturday and his plans for Gabon.
Al Jazeera: The Alternance 2023 platform introduced collectively six of the presidential candidates. Why have been you chosen because the consensus candidate?
Ossa: I used to be chosen as a result of the platform felt that I used to be the very best individual to symbolize their pursuits. Gabonese folks have been asking for a consensual candidate to place an finish to the hegemony of the Bongo dynasty. It was important that we put up a united entrance, and that’s what we did. Every candidate has proven his or her dedication to place apart private pursuits or these of their political household with the intention to convey in regards to the changeover that the folks of Gabon are calling for. I used to be appointed in the very best pursuits of the nation. It’s very thrilling, however on the identical time, I really feel the load of accountability. I’ll do my utmost to reside as much as the expectations of the Gabonese folks.
Al Jazeera: What do you assume Gabonese folks count on from you? How do you propose to fulfill their expectations?
Ossa: At the beginning, the Gabonese folks need to flip the web page on the Bongos. We’ve had three presidents since independence, and two of them have been known as Bongo. They’ve been in workplace for 60 years and that’s an excessive amount of, far an excessive amount of. Issues have gotten to vary. However greater than political change, Gabonese folks additionally need a greater life. Gabon is a wealthy nation, from its soil and subsoil, and the Gabonese folks don’t really feel they’re benefitting from this wealth, the inhabitants is getting poorer. I’m going to implement rational administration of the nation’s sources. I’m going to eradicate mismanagement and embezzlement in order that the Gabonese folks lastly get their due.
Al Jazeera: Are you able to give a abstract of your plans within the brief to medium time period, if elected?
Ossa: By the top of my five-year time period, I would like Gabon to have all of the infrastructure it must get well and take off. To begin with, we have to scale back power issues. I need to construct energy stations and make sure that Gabon is self-sufficient in power. I additionally need to put folks on the coronary heart of improvement, ie, make sure that all Gabonese can discover housing, examine, healthcare and employment. I would like the Gabonese folks to regain their dignity and I would like all Gabonese folks to learn from the fruits of development.
Al Jazeera: This yr, there shall be a single poll paper for the presidential and parliamentary candidates to be voted for. You’re an unbiased candidate, with out an elected consultant in your aspect, which signifies that by voting for you, folks will doubtless abstain from the legislative election. Do you assume it is a handicap?
Ossa: By no means. The Alternance 2023 platform and I are boycotting this legislative election. The only poll paper was launched unilaterally by the ruling celebration a month earlier than the election and it offers a bonus to those that are greatest rooted on the bottom, of their constituency, and due to this fact within the rearguard of the Bongo system. I don’t have any celebration or elected consultant following me. But when I’m elected, I’m dedicated to rerunning legislative elections which are consultant of the Gabonese folks, so that everybody, whether or not a celebration candidate or an unbiased, has an opportunity.
Al Jazeera: There have been issues in regards to the transparency of earlier polls. Do you assume this election shall be free and truthful?
Ossa: When one is confronted with a dictatorship, one adapts to its traps. Bongo can really feel his defeat and is multiplying a collection of acts to keep up himself in workplace advert vitam aeternam. This electoral legislation is a entice, however we’re going to foil it. The primary means is for the folks to provide their vote. The second means is the worldwide group.
No African energy can operate with out the worldwide group. Beforehand, Ali Bongo misplaced the elections however he was capable of run the nation as a result of the worldwide group recognised his place. This yr, we now have been working to lift consciousness among the many worldwide group and if he cheats once more, this time the worldwide group is not going to be on his aspect.
If he’s defeated, he should go away with no fuss, with none deaths. We’re going to give him the standing of former president in conformity with the laws in drive. As president of the Republic, I’ll defend his pursuits and his integrity.
Al Jazeera: You ran towards President Bongo in 2009 and misplaced. Do you assume you could have an opportunity this time?
Ossa: In 2009, I warned everybody in regards to the hazard Ali Bongo represented for Gabon. I had met him after we have been each members of the federal government. On the time, no person listened to me. As we speak folks realise that he has impoverished the nation, so it’s completely different. It’s solely been just a few days since I grew to become the consensus candidate, however judging by the favored fervour and the way in which I’ve been welcomed at every of my rallies, I’m positive I’ll be victorious from this election.
Al Jazeera: There are issues in regards to the president’s well being points since his stroke in 2018. Do you assume he’s match to guide the nation?
Ossa: I’m a Christian, a practising Catholic, and I’m not speaking about Ali Bongo’s well being. The arguments I develop towards him are political arguments. I by no means confer with his well being. What occurred to him can occur to anybody. I pray that he’ll regain his energy.
Al Jazeera: You have been a minister underneath Omar Bongo and that has led to hypothesis that you simply benefitted from the networks you at the moment are talking towards. What’s your response to this?
Ossa: I didn’t benefit from the system, the system took benefit of me. I used to be a part of Omar Bongo’s authorities for 3 years and I say it loud and clear: I by no means killed or stole. I’ve nothing to be ashamed of. That’s why I’m wanting Ali Bongo straight within the eye right this moment. These in energy don’t have any leverage over me as a result of I’ve all the time accomplished every part by the guide, I’ve by no means accomplished something that went towards my convictions, and other people know that. These three years in authorities have been years of studying to higher perceive the nation’s issues.