Published on 10 August 2015

Accrombessi, a vice president both feared and loathed

Accrombessi, a vice president both feared and loathed

With no official title except that of chief of staff to president Ali Bongo, Maixent Accrombessi is, in fact, Gabon's vice president. Apart from organizing matters at the presidential mansion on the sea, his prerogatives - exceptional for someone in his position - extend to the intelligence agencies, the management of Bongo's property portfolio and to key economic issues (oil, foreign investment and the like).

Son of a voodoo preacher and introduced to Bongo by Andre Mba Obame before he went over to the opposition, Accombessi heads services in the presidential residence that act pretty well as a parallel government.

By allowing such powers to accumulate in the hands of a single man, of Benin origin, Bongo can, beyond the simple question of trust and friendship, keep dignitaries of his late father's regime from meddling in government affairs.. And the hatred of Omar Bongo's old guard towards Accombessi is all the stronger.

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