PM says Gabon president doing well in Morocco

Wednesday December 5 2018

A handout from the Moroccan Royal Palace of

A handout from the Moroccan Royal Palace of King Mohamed VI (L) with Gabon's President Ali Bongo at the military hospital in the capital Rabat on December 3, 2018. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By AFP
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Gabon's President Ali Bongo is recovering well after being hospitalised in Morocco, his prime minister said after the two met in the capital Rabat.

The 59-year-old president, who fell ill on October 24 at an economic forum, arrived in Morocco last week following a month's treatment at a hospital in Saudi Arabia for an illness that has not been officially revealed.

"The head of state is doing fairly well, the process of his rehabilitation is evolving very quickly and positively," Prime Minister Emmanuel Issoze Ngondet said in Libreville late Tuesday.

Mr Ngondet had previously travelled to Morocco accompanied by senior officials to visit President Bongo in hospital.

The meeting

"The head of state is conscious, he recognises who he is speaking to, he can see well, he speaks well, his voice is good," Mr Ngondet told reporters.

He said the officials were "reassured" following the meeting.

Public television in Gabon late Tuesday broadcast a silent video of the meeting between President Bongo, Mr Ngondet, Vice-President Pierre-Claver Maganga Moussavou and the head of the constitutional court, Ms Marie-Madeleine Mborantsuo.

The footage follows the release on Monday by Morocco's royal palace of a handout picture which it said showed Moroccan King Mohamed VI with President Bongo at the hospital.

The prime minister's announcement comes after persistent rumours over the health of the Gabonese president for more than a month.

Beating opposition

After an extended period of silence, the Gabonese presidency admitted last month that Bongo was "seriously ill" and had undergone surgery.

A lack of official news -- along with memories of the secrecy-shrouded death of Bongo's father Omar Bongo in 2009 after decades at the helm -- had sparked numerous rumours, including speculation he was incapacitated or even dead.

President Ali Bongo was narrowly re-elected in 2016 after beating opposition challenger Jean Ping by a few thousand votes following a poll marred by deadly violence and allegations of fraud.

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