The new military leaders of Gabon announced that they are freeing Ali Bongo Ondimba, the ousted President who has been under house arrest since last week. He is now able to embark on a medical trip.
Col. Ulrich Manfoumbi, spokesman for the transition committee, said on state television a day earlier that Ondimba is “free to move given his state of health.” If he wishes, he can go abroad to carry out his medical checks.
It was not immediately clear about the health of the ousted president. He suffered a stroke in late 2018, which kept him from his duties for months. Late on Wednesday, Ondimba and Abdou Barry, the head of the UN Office for Central Africa, held a meeting that local television station Gabon24 broadcast.
Barry reported, “I found him in good health,” during his meeting with the ousted president.
On Aug. 30, a resurgence of coups in parts of Africa toppled the 64-year-old from power. Shortly after, he was declared the winner of a disputed election that would have extended his family’s 55-year reign. He succeeded his father in 2009.
This week, Gen. Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguema, the newly sworn-in military leader in Gabon, met with regional and local authorities. He promised better infrastructure and a peaceful transition to the citizens in the oil-rich Central African nation.
Bongo critic named interim PM
On Thursday, the military rulers in Gabon appointed Raymond Ndong Sima, a prominent opponent of ousted president Ali Bongo Ondimba, as the interim prime minister.
Ndong Sima, a Paris-educated economist who is now 68 years old, served as prime minister under Bongo from 2012 to 2014. Afterward, he became a critic and competed against him in the 2016 and 2023 presidential campaigns.
Oligui vowed in his inauguration speech to hold “free, transparent, and credible elections” to restore civilian rule, but he did not provide a timeframe.
He also stated that he would soon announce a transitional government that would draw on figures from across the political spectrum.
Oligui said that representatives from all the key groups would draught a new constitution for the country, which would be “more respectful of democracy and human rights.” The country would then submit the constitution to a referendum.