The presidency of Gabon announced on Sunday that the head of state Ali Bongo Ondimba was “in recovery phase of the fullness of his physical faculties”.
The 59-year-old President Bongo was hospitalized in Riyadh on 24 October following a malaise and no news has been officially released for two weeks, fueling the wildest rumors.
On Thursday, the council of elders of the presidential party, the Gabonese Democratic Party ( PDG ), called on the government to “communicate wisely to reassure the opinion” on the state of health of the president.
The spokesman for the presidency, Ike Ngouoni, finally broke the silence in a declaration intended to be reassuring, but which confirmed, without saying it directly, that the head of state remained in a state of fragile health.
“Today, the President of the Republic is in a recovery phase of the fullness of his physical faculties,” Ngouoni said, without mentioning his intellectual faculties.
He quoted “the last medical bulletin” which indicates that after his hospitalization in Ryad following a discomfort and “persistent vertigo (…) the first explorations have revealed a bleeding justifying a medical and surgical management in a highly specialized sector “where Mr. Bongo” has been treated with appropriate and in-depth support, which has so far significantly improved its overall condition and thus reduced the protocol of care “.
He “is therefore gradually beginning a very encouraging phase of physical recovery” and “his health has improved significantly,” said the spokesman who did not specify what illness was or had been victim President Bongo.
According to him, “the President of the Republic, Head of State, continues to perform his duties” and “the institutions of our Republic are now functioning perfectly in strict compliance with the Constitution.”
A foreign source, close to President Bongo told AFP Wednesday that the president of Gabon “had a stroke ” (stroke), because of his hospitalization.
The vital prognosis is no longer engaged
“The vital prognosis is no longer engaged, it is no longer under artificial respiration” and it is still in Ryad, said the same source.
President Bongo did not attend Sunday in Paris at the centenary ceremonies of the end of the First World War, where he was replaced by his Minister of Foreign Affairs, Régis Immongault.
The scarcity of official communication about the state of President Bongo, has inflamed social networks or rumors and false news have multiplied, some going as far as to announce his death. There was also talk of the transfer networks in Rabat, London or Paris, long months of convalescence.
Gabon’s first lady, Sylvia Bongo Ondimba, said on Thursday that “President Ali Bongo Ondimba and (she was) particularly touched” by the “many prayers and messages of support”.
The day before, she had changed her profile picture on these networks, from a photo of her, alone, in color, to a black and white photo where the presidential couple is dressed in dark.
No vacation period
There is no time in Gabon to announce a vacancy of power by the Constitutional Council to be seized by the government or the offices of Parliament (Senate and National Assembly).
When the vacancy is noted, the Senate President must act until the organization of a presidential election within a maximum period of 60 days.
According to the opponent Paul-Marie Gondjout, “the vacancy of power must be declared as soon as possible to avoid uncertainties at the head of the state.”
A Gabonese newspaper that published an article on the president’s health on Monday titling “Gabon in (very dangerous) autopilot”, was suspended for three months by the High Authority for Communication ( HAC ).
The HAC criticizes the newspaper, L’Aube, for asking the Gabonese prime minister “to invest Lucie Mboussou”, the president of the Senate who must ensure an interim presidency in case of vacancy of power.