After weeks of speculation about his health, prime minister says Bongo is alert and his rehabilitation process is going well
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 disclosed.
“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 on Tuesday.
Ngondet had previously travelled to Morocco accompanied by senior officials to visit Bongo in hospital.
“The head of state is conscious, he recognises who he is speaking to, he can see well, he speaks well, his voice is good,” Ngondet told reporters.
He said the officials were “reassured” following the meeting.
Public television in Gabon late on Tuesday broadcast a silent video of the meeting between Bongo, Ngondet, vice-president Pierre-Claver Maganga Moussavou and the head of the constitutional court, Marie-Madeleine Mborantsuo.
The footage follows the release on Monday by Morocco’s royal palace of a handout picture it said showed Moroccan King Mohamed VI with Bongo at the hospital.
The prime minister’s announcement comes after persistent rumours over Bongo’s health for more than a month.
After an extended period of silence, the Gabonese presidency admitted in November 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.
Ali Bongo was narrowly re-elected president in 2016 after beating opposition challenger Jean Ping by a few thousand votes following a poll marred by deadly violence and allegations of fraud.