Here are the key dates of Gabon, ruled by the family’s Bongo for more than 50 years:
– Omar Bongo, for 41 years, –
On 17 August 1960, the independence of Gabon, a former French colony, is proclaimed. In February 1961, Leon Mba became president. Three years later, he is deposed during a coup and then reinstalled thanks to the intervention of the French army.
In December 1967, at the death of Leon Mba, Albert-Bernard Bongo has access to the power. It imposes the Parti démocratique gabonais (PDG) as a single party and ruled with an iron hand, taking advantage particularly of the oil windfall.
In 1973, converted to islam, becoming El Hadj Omar Bongo, to which he added Ondimba, his father’s name, in 2003.
The only candidate, he was elected president in 1973, 1979 and 1986.
From January to April 1990, severe social unrest turning to revolt. In may, the multiparty system is adopted, but Omar Bongo has won all the presidential elections (1993, 1998 and 2005) in the face of opposition as it manages to divide or rally to his cause. The elections are contested or followed by violence.
– Ali Bongo, the heir –
On 16 October 2009, Ali Bongo Ondimba, son of Omar Bongo who died in June, is inaugurated as president. He had been elected in August during an election contested. Post-election violence and looting shook Port-Gentil (west), with several people killed.
Quickly, the opposition denounces the “authoritarian drift” and a “personalisation of power”.
In 2010, the French judiciary opened an investigation into the considerable wealth amassed in France by Omar Bongo and other african heads of State (case of the “ill-gotten gains”).
– Social Tensions –
In December 2014, violent clashes opposed protesters and opposition forces, during a rally prohibits demanding the departure of Ali Bongo, which is officially a death.
The regime, facing an economic crisis due to the plunge in oil prices from 2014-2015, in the face of growing social tensions, strikes in the public service and the private sector.
– Civil status challenged –
In 2014, the French journalist Pierre Péan said that Ali Bongo has falsified his birth certificate, in his book “New african affairs”.
This thesis, vigorously denied by the authority, says that the president is a child in nigeria adopted by Omar Bongo during the biafran war in the late 1960s. According to the Constitution, it is necessary to be born gabonese to run for the presidency.
The controversy has been the subject of several judicial proceedings in France and in Gabon. A statement is currently in Nantes within the framework of a complaint for “false” on the birth certificate filed by his half-sister.
– Post-election violence –
Before the presidential election of August 27, 2016, the opposition asked in vain for the invalidation of the candidacy of Ali Bongo, repeating that there is a child in nigeria adopted and that it may not be the chairman.
On 31 August, the election commission announces the re-election of Ali Bongo, in front of his opponent Jean Ping.
Ensuing unprecedented levels of violence: manifestations anti-Bongo, arrests by the hundreds, Assembly and set fire to the assault by the security forces against the HEADQUARTERS of Jean Ping…
These disorders are three dead according to the authorities, thirty of them, according to the opposition.
On September 2, 2016, Jean Ping proclaimed himself “elected president”. On 24 September, the constitutional Court validates the election of Ali Bongo.
Postponed three times, the legislative elections due in December 2016 will take place finally in October 2018, with a landslide victory of the party in power.
– Prolonged Absence –
On October 24, 2018, Ali Bongo is the victim of a cerebral vascular accident in saudi Arabia. He was hospitalized for over a month in Riyadh, and then transferred to Rabat. The few official communications on his health are fueling rumors.
In November, a part of its powers is transferred to the Prime minister and the vice-president.
The proclamation at the end of December of results of the parliamentary results in the end of the functions of the government.
On 7 January, a group of soldiers called for an uprising, in an apparent coup attempt.The government says quickly that the attempt has failed, and that the mutineers escaped or were arrested.