Who is really in control of the country's oil?
Gabon's oil and gas sector - the state's main source of foreign cash - is now in the hands of a close acquaintance of President Ali Bongo's son and coordinator, Noureddin Bongo.
President Ali Bongo's coordinator and eldest son Noureddin Bongo has found a way to assert his influence in government: task forces. These ad hoc teams of civil servants and consultants are ostensibly there to assist government departments, but can have a tendency to bypass them.
Nicole Janine Roboty, who replaced economy minister Jean-Marie Ogandaga on 9 December, has inherited an explosive situation among staff at the ministry's various department. Tax and customs staff are in battle mode after having had their bonuses indexed on the amount of money they recover for the state.
The drawn-out talks between Total and the Libyan state over the French major's purchase of Marathon Oil's shares in the Waha concession and the interminable negotiations between ExxonMobil and Trident Energy over Zafiro show just how much sway certain political