Gabon: Statement of Union Nationale, July 30, 2011
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On January 25, 2011, to claim his victory, Mr. André Mba Obame self proclaimed himself as President-elect of the Republic of Gabon. That victory was indeed affirmed by eminent French personalities, a French public media, in a documentary publicly funded by French government which Gabonese watched.
The same information should be recalled, had already been given by the U.S. diplomatic telegrams and came to light by the Wikileaks website.
To meet this strong political act, the regime in power, through the Minister of the Interior, instead of filing complaints against public bodies involved in this French documentary, had rather pronounced, by a decree, the dissolution of Union Nationale.
Considering this illegal act, we have seized the Conseil d’État (State Council) June 3, 2011, that it shall declare void the decree of the Minister of Interior which is clearly flawed.
With this normal approach, we expect that the high administrative court to say the law, only the law. Without being naive, given the lack of independence of the judiciary system in our country, we had exhausted most of the legal channels, to show our commitment to the law and demonstrate, where applicable, the limits of it in Gabon.
In dismissing Union Nationale in its decision of July 28, 2011, the State Council has unfortunately not say the law.
The Council of State, following the Government, curiously claims that by accepting the organization of the ceremony of swearing in of Mr. Andre Mba Obame in its premises and by attending Union Nationale is "co-author or least accomplice "of the act committed by the former independent candidate for president early on 30 August 2009.
The Council of State ignores that Mr. Andre Mba Obame was sworn in as a former independent candidate in the last presidential election, election to which Union Nationale did not participate because there was no such party created yet. He also pretended not to know that Union Nationale took part in the ceremony along with other opposition parties who were invited.
In addition, it provides no tangible evidence of the involvement of the Union Nationale as a party in this ceremony, although it has taken place in its premises.
In saying that Union Nationale is co-author of the act, the State Council said then that Union Nationale, a legal person of its own, also sworn in along with Mr. Andre Mba Obame.
We are not fooled because we know what really happened in the Council of State to get there and we have denounced in our statement twenty-four hours before rendering its decision. Should be left triumph interests in power and thus the interests of some judges.
Their personal interests are more important than the future of Gabon and its children.
No biometrics, not Union Nationale, we see what is emerging. The regime in power wants to set aside its main potential enemy in order to get an overwhelming majority in the National Assembly that make people forget about the indelible defeat of August 30, 2009 and the deficit of legitimacy that results from it. Refusal of biometrics, then denied a crucial element of electoral transparency in the legislative elections coming under false pretenses, dissolution of a political party, violatation of the principle of multiparty democracy, the regime in power arrogantly does all it wants, in full knowledge of the international community, fully informed, including the UN, U.S.A, European Union, including France. No reaction from them so far.
Does International community expect that things go wrong to come to play firefighter or the doctor after death? Prevention Is not the royal road to guarantee peace and stability? Is not it in this spirit that the UN Regional Centre for Conflict Prevention was moved to Libreville?
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We want to remind you that Union Nationale, whose dissolution has been confirmed, has six members in National Assembly, three senators and one hundred and fifty-four elected officials, making the party the second political force in the country and the first party of the Opposition.
The dissolution of a political party can not be an ordinary act in a country governed on the rule of law.
The decision of the State Council is still a coup against democracy in our country after those of the Constitutional Court has perpetrated against the popular will as a result of other previous presidential and parliamentary elections.
In Gabon, the existence of a party or political group derives its primary source of Article 6 of the Constitution which provides that "the political parties and groups contribute to the exercise of suffrage. They are formed and are operating freely within the framework set by law, according to the principles of multiparty and must respect the Constitution and laws of the Republic. "
In other words, political parties have a primary mission to enable citizens to participate in the political life of the nation within the frameworks they are organized in. They are the glue and the ferment of democracy. The exercise of suffrage to which they contribute is simply an expression of popular sovereignty which it organizes and facilitates the expression. All this forms the basis of democracy and the Republic system, the power of the people for the people and by the people.
Dissolving a political party is an extremely serious act of negation of the foundation of democracy. This kind of act is the hallmark of dictatorships. You will agree with us that the dissolution of political parties are extremely rare in countries so called democratic. We even have in Central Africa one Head of a political party currently being sued by the International Criminal Court for alleged serious crimes and acts of war inside and outside the country, so far this without that issue leading to the dissolution of his party. Similar cases in other countries where political parties were involved in serious events, including wars without being dissolved are known both in Central, Western and Southern Africa.
Dissolving a political party means that it can no longer take part in political debate, participate in elections or be part of the management bodies and control of elections. But this restriction may not involve the logo, which is an intellectual work which the trademark which is registered and protected. As such, it can not be excluded from any citizen holding a garment bearing the logo of Union Nationale to use it as such.
We condemn with the strongest propensity the Minister of the Interior recurrently flouting of the law by always giving it connotations still draconian. This is probably the mark of the regime to which he belongs and the power he is blindly serving and that led him to kill Union Nationale.
With the overruling on July 28, 2011 of the class action to declare the existence of the decree dissolving Union Nationale illegal, the regime in power in all its components, achieved its goal, that is killing our party.
Yes, obsessive relentlessness of this regime against Union Nationale was at its highest. Yes, the same visceral hostility of the regime in power toward Union Nationale was at its highest. Result does not surprise us then.
But if the Minister of the Interior and the State Council have killed Union Nationale in texts, they can never destroy our beliefs, our determination and faith in this ideal of Gabon for all. Change, the objective of our struggle, will lead us irresistibly.
We want to tell Gabonese people that Union Nationale is not dead. Union Nationale lives and will live forever in our hearts. No law, no prison, no gun can kill that spirit.
This leads me to recall the context and environment in which was born February 10, 2010, the Union Nationale. After the electoral coup of 3 September 2009 at the expense of the candidate Andre Mba Obame, elected August 30, 2009, candidates for the early presidential election after a coalition of political groups and parties to the mix, took the decision to have a major political party of the Opposition to manage Gabon differently, to achieve alternance in power and to end the mismanagement of the power source of poverty, misery and insecurity. The African Movement for Development (MAD), the National Rally of Republicans (RNR) and the Gabonese Union for Democracy and Development (UGDD), convinced of the merits of this goal, agreed, after the heads of groups and their partners ofthese parties agreed to join, to create, through their merger, " Union Nationale ". Thus was it born. What these three parties have raised is a patriotic act in their historic struggle for change in Gabon.
This act can not suffer any diversion from our critics. Yes, it is common to hear people blaming the Executive Secretary of Union Nationale, André MBA Obame for being responsible of the current situation and try to isolate him. It's a waste of time, it is partisan politics that we reject with contempt. They can not divide us.
Similarly, others return to the case of UGDD that I supposedly sold and I do not know to whom, and who seem to feel sorry for myself or take the opportunity to speak evil of me as usual. Faced with these petty maneuver, to them and others, I say I am proud that I lead the fight, with courage and forethought, not for my modest person, but for Gabon. I defend republican values, it is a noble enterprise, and I assume and I will assume forever.
Finally, we say to our gabonese people that the struggle continues and will be built fast enough on the form and means that we will give it. It is clear that we will not remain indifferent to an illegitimate power to gag a very large section of the Gabonese population by depriving it of one of his most basic rights, that to come together in a structure enabling it to express its ideals. We inform you that already we are seizing the Council of Human Rights of United Nations on the case.