Published on 30 November 2012

Ali Bongo's penchant for absolute power


Since his election as president in 2009, Ali Bongo has steered Gabon resolutely single-handedly. Helped by his director of cabinet Maixent Accrombessi, the late Omar Bongo's son and successor has placed the army and has the intelligence services in his pocket, while his sister Pascaline Bongo, the former secretary-general of the president's office, and most other close and extended family members have been sidelined. Bongo has similarly excommunicated the politicians who used to be in his father's inner circle, such as Paul Toungui.

Bongo's quest for absolute power has been served by the massive parliamentary majority his party PDG achieved at the polls in 2011. Gabon's opposition all but disintegrated following the death of political rival Pierre Mamboundou, the leader of the Union du Peuple Gabonais’s party, in 2011, and Andre Mba Obame's withdrawal from political life due to ill health.

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