Ogilvy Public Relations has been hired to push earned media opportunities with the political press on behalf of the Gabonese Republic.

The oil-rich west coast African nation has been the site of international controversy following the August reelection of its president, Ali Bongo Ondimba. Bongo, the son of former president Omar Bongo, has ruled Gabon since his father’s death in 2009, and was incumbent in a much-disputed election that ultimately culminated with Bongo's win by a razor-thin victory (only about 5,500 votes) on August 27.

Ali BongoGabon's president Ali Bongo Ondimba

Violent protests broke out in Gabon’s capital, Libreville, following the election, and Bongo’s political rival, former African union chairperson Jean Ping, immediately rejected the results, claiming the election had been rigged by the elections commission. Gabon’s top court conducted a recount and this week reaffirmed Bongo’s win. He was sworn in for another seven-year term today.

The European Union, which dispatched an electoral observation mission to Gabon for the August presidential election, expressed concerns regarding the results, claiming Gabon’s constitutional court was "unable to satisfactorily rectify anomalies observed during the count."

According to Foreign Agents Registration Act documents filed in September, Ogilvy will provide PR counsel and communications support in the form of media relations, materials development and online communication activities, which includes networking meetings for the purpose of “educating members of Congress and Administration officials regarding the Gabonese Republic’s concerns and positions on various issues.”

The salvo also includes “opinion piece placement in political media publications,” FARA documents read.

The Ogilvy & Mather PR giant will coordinate its work with Liban Soleman, Gabon cabinet chief and senior advisor to Bongo.