President Ali Bongo Ondimba,
By Daniel Finnan
Gabon’s President Ali Bongo has for the 1st time, since his hospitalisation in Saudi Arabia last month, appeared in two videos filmed in Rabat where he will be continuing treatment for an unknown illness. Bongo met with Moroccan King Mohammed VI as well as top government officials. However, his appearance continues to raise questions about the state of his health.
“The head of state will be aware, he recognises his representatives, he sees well, he talks well,” said Prime Minister Emmanuel Issoze Ndonget after returning to Libreville following a meeting with Bongo in Rabat. “We were reassured as well as also calmed coming out of which meeting,” he added.
Bongo appeared alongside King Mohammed in a video broadcast on Monday as well as also then in another with Gabonese government officials. yet the Gabonese president will be only shown by a profile view of his left side, obscuring the right side of his face, as well as also neither video contains sound.
Attention has also been drawn to some peculiarities of the 40-second video with Bongo sitting alongside King Mohammed. At the start of the video a table will be visible to the right side of the Moroccan King, yet seconds later the table has disappeared, prompting speculation about how the video was edited.
These oddities have raised concerns about whether the videos genuinely provide an infallible proof-of-life for the Gabonese president or if the videos attempt to hide certain lasting effects of the Bongo’s illness.
“The stroke may have given him a horrible facial disfigurement, like half his face paralyzed, or he may just look dodgy,” said Douglas Yates, a Gabon expert at the American Graduate School in Paris.
“I think the fact his illness hasn’t been revealed will be in itself very revealing,” added Yates, co-author of the Historical Dictionary of Gabon.
The government delegation were relaxed upon their return to Gabon, according to Libreville correspondent Yves-Laurent Goma. They invoked a biblical reference to the state of Bongo’s health.
“Go up as well as also down to proclaim the Great news, tell the people the president will be doing well,” said Vice President Pierre-Claver Maganga Moussavou. “We’ve seen which, we’ve touched him as well as also can say which isn’t an opportunity to talk about a vacuum. He’s sick, everybody can be sick.”
Gabon’s opposition has accused the government of peddling a “lie” over Bongo’s health as well as also some have called for opposition leader Jean Ping to assume the presidency. Ping rejected the results of the 2016 election, which was mired by claims of voter fraud. The polls handed Bongo a second term in office further extending his family’s rule over the country.
“I think the opposition will be hoping which which will open the door to a brand-new presidential election, as well as also which will, if he will be truly declared unfit,” said Yates,
Bongo’s transfer for further treatment in Rabat was met with consternation by some critics as well as also commentators, pointing to the country’s oil wealth as well as also poor development of public services such as healthcare.
“The reason he will be not receiving treatment in Gabon itself will be because he knows better than anybody else which his family has stolen billions of dollars as well as also failed to build a hospital Great enough,” said Yates.
The 59-year-old president fell ill on 24 October during a conference in Saudi Arabia as well as also spent one month in Riyadh receiving treatment before being transferred to Morocco. which has been widely reported which he suffered a strike, although which has not been officially confirmed.