Gabon president in ‘firm control’ following speculation over abilities

Ali Bongo Ondimba

JOHANNESBURG – The Gabonese presidency says President Ali Bongo is in full control of the country after he suffered a stroke 10 months ago which has fuelled speculation, specifically from the opposition, about his ability to rule.

Following a public appearance made outside the presidential palace last Friday by Bongo, the presidency said on Monday at a press conference that the president’s speech proved he was fine, the Ugandan Independent reported.

“Everyone could see the president has regained his oratorical fluency,” presidency spokesperson Ike Ngouoni said of Bongo’s televised speech on Friday night.

However, Bongo, 60, has not faced the media since his stroke.

“When the president deems it is useful and an appropriate time, he will find the best way to address the press,” said Ngouoni.

Speculation about Bongo’s health has been rife after he attended a military parade over the weekend to mark Gabon’s 1960 independence from France, walking slowly with the help of a cane, and specifically after he suffered the stroke while in Saudi Arabia.

African News Agency (ANA)