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Gabon: the mystery Ali Bongo

Can the Gabonese president, struck by a stroke in Saudi Arabia, regain his throne? The rumor machine is racing.

It was done in advance. Since the announcement of the hospitalization in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) of the head of the Gabonese state Ali Bongo Ondimba, which took place two weeks ago, the rumor mill is running at full speed. Covered as it ought to be through the opacity that cultivates – tactical choice or reflection of intense disorder – the authorities of Libreville, who cling between heavy silences, evasive confidants and milder releases. Gabon, known for centuries, produces at least as much gossip as crude oil or precious wood. The problem is that social networks, both in the country and in the diaspora, increase the tenfold increase in virality.

Delirious digital

Selected pieces, picked on the web or on the messenger more or less coded. "ABO" has been transferred to London, to be read here. He succumbed and rested his body, at the request of his wife Sylvia, in Westminster's Westminster mortuary, "learning" elsewhere. Unless he was transferred, in mortal fear, to the Quiron Clinic in Barcelona, ​​where his father and pastor, Omar, died in 2009. Imitated by a Benin TV, the Cameroon private channel Vision 4 also announced the death of the person concerned, who is suspended for six months by Yaoundé's High Authority communications. On Twitter is the recording of a medical conversation that is supposed to lift the veil about the real health of the president that was so badly re-elected in the summer of 2016. The pompom? This close-up photo's of a facial, drooling lips included. Unidentified face but one is asked to attribute to Bongo Jr. …

On March 28, 2017, "ABO" launches a "political dialogue" in its free palace, partly fictional. And this under the eyes of his wife of French origin, Sylvia.


We calm down. What do we really know? Arrived on October 24 in Riyadh, where he must participate in the Future Investment Initiative, high-tech barnum so dear to the crown prince Mohamed ben Salmane, also known as MBS, Ali Bongo collapses the same night and is hospitalized in emergency King Faisal Hospital. There, as indicated on October 31st The letter of the continentA confidential bimonthly journal dedicated to Africa, its palaces and networks, the patient will be immediately appointed by the neurology department, led by Johns Hopkins University. "A windfall for him", a diplomat known to the Bongo remarks, "unpalatable, he immediately benefited from the expertise of an American neurosurgeon." Then the presence of his French doctor came to his bed.

"Can not predict consequences"

A "malaise", ransom of "severe fatigue due to the very strong activity in recent months", avoids the president's spokesman. But here it is: the scenario of pumping the passenger pump does not stop. The letter represents a cerebral edema whose resorption requires the patient to be placed in artificial sleep. According to our sources, both the Africans and the French, the son of Omar, who has not left the Saudi capital, have in fact had a very serious stroke (stroke).

Does he regain his physical and intellectual powers? "Probably not in its entirety," advises a West African head of state, "because the shock was hard." "Impossible to predict the aftermath at this stage, a refinement in Paris, those who claim to do it, whether it is an alarming or reassuring circle, all have an agenda." Hear that their words obey calculations about a possible "after" and the place that could be theirs.

Panic wind

"Here's the wait, Libreville trusted a senior official, but we feel like a panic that blows the Bongo clan, and all the formulas are on the table, provided they keep him in power." Right now there's reason to assume that a triumvirate holds the store & # 39 ;. Boss of the intelligence services of the Republican Guard, elite unit of the army, Frédéric Bongo, half brother of Ali, locks the security device.

On the political front it is the president of the presidential cabinet, Brice Laccruche Alihanga, who shatters orders, while the Prime Minister, Emmanuel Issozé Ngondet, manages the current affairs; On 1 November, he was chairman of an interdepartmental board to maintain an appearance of normality. The third man? A woman. The very influential president of the Constitutional Court, Marie-Madeleine Mborantsuo, one of Omar Bongo's countless ex-mistresses, to whom she gave two children. "Laccruche would like to rule solo, remarks a retired ambassador, but Frederic watches over it."

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, at the Future Investment Initiative, an economic forum whose second edition, overshadowed by the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, was held in Riyadh on 24-25 October.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, at the Future Investment Initiative, an economic forum whose second edition, overshadowed by the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, was held in Riyadh on 24-25 October.


Nobody knows at this moment whether ABO will be able to speak, walk, travel and work normally again. One certainty: if he survived the visit of MBS on October 25th, he can survive everything.

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