New Gabon govt announced from Morocco as Bongo is treated

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Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba. /COURTESY PHOTO
By :

AFP

LIBREVILLE – Gabon’s prime minister announced a new government in a video message recorded thousands of miles away in Morocco, where ailing Gabonese President Ali Bongo is recovering from a stroke.

Recently appointed PM Julien Nkoghe Bekale gave details of the reshuffle in footage broadcast late Saturday on state television, less than a week after the country foiled an attempted coup.

LONG ABSENCE

Gabon has been without effective government for months since President Bongo suffered the stroke in October during a visit to Saudi Arabia.

READ: Gabon’s Bongo suffered a stroke: vice president

A new cabinet was also announced on Saturday evening by presidential secretary Jean-Yves Teale in another video missive recorded in Morocco. No significant changes were made to either the cabinet or the government.
Gabon’s Constitution states that ministers must take their vows before the President — but in Mr Bongo’s lengthening absence it is unclear how, when and where the ceremony will take place.

On Monday renegade soldiers stormed a state radio station to call for an uprising while Mr Bongo was abroad.

Security forces captured the rebel chief and killed two of his men at the broadcasting offices in the capital Libreville, restoring calm to the city after hours of upheaval.

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POWER BALANCE

However questions remain over the balance of power in the West African nation where political change has been negligible for more than half a century.

Brice Laccruche Alihanga, head of the cabinet since 2017 who is reportedly close to First Lady Sylvia Bongo, retained his post in the new line-up.

Ali Bongo, 59, is the son of Omar Bongo, who became head of state in 1967 and died in June 2009, leaving a legacy of corruption allegations.

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