The silence surrounding the health of Gabon's president, Ali Bongo is beginning to raise serious concerns as citizens of the oil rich country feel there is something the presidency is not saying.
President Ali Bongo, who was in Saudi Arabia in October, where he was expected to take part in a panel discussion during a high profile Investment Summit, was reportedly admitted at King Faisal Hospital in the Saudi Capital, Riyadh, due to tiredness. He was not present at the event as announced.
The issue of his admittance in a healthcare facility in Saudi Arabia was not initially taken too seriously especially as a presidential spokesperson - Ike Ngouoni had said the reason for his absence at the event was accumulated stress and fatigue due to his busy schedule. He debunked what he termed as "fake news", reports making rounds that the president had suffered from a stroke.
He added that the president was very fine but has been advised by doctors to take a bed rest.
We reported last week that the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed Bin Salman paid a courtesy visit to Bongo at the Riyadh's King Faisal Hospital, which according to him was to "inquire after the health of the president", haven heard that he was admitted.
Well, two weeks after the incident and with no news or contact from the president, Gabonese citizens are becoming increasingly concerned as to whether all is truly well with their president and the current state of the country affairs in his absence, since he did not officially hand over to an acting president.
There is increased tension and the opposition is calling for the speaker of parliament to take over the role of presidency in Bongo's absence.
Speaking recently, advocate Telesphore Ondo said:
“If there is a vacancy, or if there is a permanent impediment, as determined by the Constitutional Court, in this case the President of the Senate shall act as interim President."
In the same vein, Mamadou Tsoumou - a former Governor of the Estuary province said:
“The President of the Republic is the cornerstone of constitutional institutions, it is true. But the fact remains that administrations, other institutions that have business contracts or have signed a business contract, do everything they can to make things work perfectly. We cannot block the country’s situation just for the president’s health. Later we will see, and then there are the usual procedures of the Nation.”
Last Week, Gabon’s High Authority of Communication, (HAC) - the communication's watchdog in the country, suspended Vision 4 Channel for six months after the station announced that president Bongo had passed away while on admission in Saudi Arabia.
You will recall that Bongo's father, Omar Bongo, died in office as president of Gabon in 2009 before Ali took over.
We sincerely hope all is well and pray for the quick recovery of the president.
The average age of the 15 oldest African leaders is 77, compared to 52 for the world's ten most-developed economies. Could this be one of the majo…
Header Image: Nehanda Radio