Gabon’s president Bongo dies

This video is called Human Rights Council: “Human rights” and Gabon.

From the BBC:

Gabon‘s leader is confirmed dead

Omar Bongo died of a heart attack at a clinic in Spain

Africa’s longest serving leader -Gabonese President Omar Bongo – has died aged 73.

His death was confirmed by the country’s Prime Minister Jean Eyeghe Ndong in a written statement.

There had been conflicting reports earlier on Monday about whether Mr Bongo, who had led Gabon since 1967, had died in a Spanish clinic. …

The leader of the Senate, Rose Francine Rogombe, an ally of Mr Bongo, is expected to take over as interim leader. Under the constitution, elections must be held within 45 days.

Corruption allegations

But opposition leaders have claimed that Mr Bongo’s son, Ali-Ben Bongo, currently defence minister, has been manoeuvred to take over, and question whether any election would be free and fair. …

Mr Bongo became vice-president, and then president, of Gabon in 1967. He stopped work in May, and entered a clinic in Barcelona. Government officials insisted it was for a check-up, but other reports said he had cancer.

Mr Bongo faced a French inquiry into corruption allegations.

Oil earnings mean that Gabon is officially one of Africa’s richest states but analysts say that the political elite has kept most of the money for themselves. Most of the country’s 1.4 million people live in poverty.

From France 24:

Bongo nurtured close ties with former colonial power France, whose Total SA oil giant is one of the biggest investors in the country.

Gabonese President Omar Bongo (1935-2009). A tool of French imperialism in Africa: here.

Omar Bongo pocketed millions in embezzled funds, claims US cable: here.

8 thoughts on “Gabon’s president Bongo dies

  1. President’s death confirmed

    GABON: The government has confirmed that Omar Bongo, president of Gabon for 42 years, died in a Spanish hospital on Monday.

    The government, which had previously denied that Mr Bongo was ill, responded to his death by closing Gabon’s international airport and the nation’s land and sea borders. Security forces took up positions in front of government buildings and electrical installations in Libreville, the capital.


  2. Gunmen storm exile’s TV station

    GABON: Masked gunmen attacked a private television station that is owned by an opposition leader who recently returned from self-imposed exile.

    The Committee to Protect Journalists said today that the men had stormed the headquarters of TV+ on Wednesday and set fire to the station’s transmitters.

    The attack came just hours after the station aired coverage of deadly clashes between police and supporters of Andre Mba Obame.


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  4. 50 years ago: France crushes coup in former African colony

    On February 19, 1964, French soldiers crushed a coup d’état in the former colony of Gabon, the day after the government of its close ally Léon M’ba was bloodlessly toppled. At least 18 Gabonese were killed and another 40 wounded in the French attack. M’ba had recently dissolved parliament and had forbidden opposition politicians from running in upcoming parliamentary elections.

    The coup took place in Libreville, Gabon’s capital, on February 18, led by a group of army officers who announced they had formed a “revolutionary council.” They proclaimed Jean-Hilaire Aubame, M’ba’s chief rival, to be the new president. Aubame favored more rapid “Africanization”—eliminating French advisors from positions of authority—and paid lip service to “socialism.” Immediately, French troops were rushed in from neighboring Senegal and the Congo Republic, also former French colonies. The reinforcements joined a French garrison of 150 in Gabon, formerly part of French Equatorial Africa. This was more than enough to deal with Gabon’s tiny army of about 400.

    The government of Charles de Gaulle claimed to be acting under a pact signed with Gabon—M’ba was staunchly pro-French, and had, in fact, opposed Gabonese independence. The real aim was to protect French economic interests, including major offshore oil fields, manganese deposits—then thought to be among the world’s largest—and timber. French imperialism also sought to make an example of Gabon for its other former colonies, and to regain some “credibility” after its humiliating defeats in Algeria and Vietnam.

    Since December, 1962, coups or attempted coups had taken place in a number of former French colonies: Senegal, Togo, Ivory Coast, the Congo Republic, and Dahomey. Coups and unrest had also taken place in the former British colonies of Kenya, Tanganyika, Zanzibar, Uganda, and Ghana (where President Kwame Nkrumah had survived five assassination attempts since 1962) while Ethiopia and Somalia were embroiled in clashes over a disputed border, and in the Belgian Congo the pro-Western regime established after the CIA-backed murder of Patrice Lumumba in 1961 was engaged in a counter-insurgency war. Such was “independence” in sub-Saharan Africa in 1964.

    “Of course coups are illegal,” commented a member of the Gabonese opposition. “But how free is a country when a foreign power is the sole arbiter of when a coup is popular and when it is not?”


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